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Making a Christmas pudding in 10 easy steps

The old-fashioned Christmas pudding is gone out of style. With our rocky-road and dark chocolate shop-bought alternatives to a time-consuming dessert, we seem to have concluded there is no place for the humble pudding in our cupboards anymore.

But isn’t this the year, of all the years to revive that tradition? The sticky swirl of the wooden spoon in the bowl, the whispered wish into the folds of sugar and candied peel, the fumes of the brandy nearly knocking you off your chair? Even with the shops and restaurants reopening last week, we will all take the lessons of lockdown with us into this season. And one of those lessons, was taking time to appreciate smaller, homey moments. One of my strongest childhood memories is stirring my wish into the Christmas pudding with my mother on one side and my sister on the other. The smell, the excitement, the sense of the build up to Christmas, waiting to see if the pudding wish had worked, all became part of our own traditions.

So, whether it’s with your kids, your grandchildren or your flatmates, now is the time to re-learn a dying art – the tradition of making an old-fashioned Christmas pudding (wish included!) in ten easy steps.

Ingredients:

375g mixed peel                                             

150g sultanas

125g glace ginger chopped                            

75g dried apricots chopped

2tbs orange rind, finely grated                       

250ml orange juice

80ml brandy                                                   

150g cream flour

150g self-raising flour                       

½tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp ground cinnamon                        

1 small cooking apple

1tsp ground cloves                                         

1tsp ground nutmeg                           

1tsp ground ginger                                         

75g macadamias chopped                  

250g unsalted butter cooled               

220g brown sugar                                          

3 eggs lightly beaten                                      

2L pudding steamer

½ cup glace cherries                                       

1 wish

Step 1.

Using butter, grease a metal pudding steamer and then line it with grease-proof paper or baking paper as well. Double-lining the base prevents the mixture from sticking to the side of the tin.

Step 2.

Peel, core and roughly chop cooking apple. Place chopped apple, glace cherries, mixed peel, sultanas, glace ginger, chopped apricots, orange rind and juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the fruit feels softened, but not allowing the mixture to bubble. Put aside to cool to cool for 40 minutes. (Take a Christmas tunes break!)

Step 3.

Add 80ml of the brandy to the fruit mixture and stir to combine. (We like to use Three Barrels Brandy, let us know what you use!)

Step 4.

Next, sieve your dry ingredients into a large bowl. This is the bicarbonate of soda, self-raising and cream flours and our spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

Step 5.

Combine this with the macadamia nuts, butter, brown sugar and eggs, making sure it is totally combined before adding in the fruit mixture. Most recipes call for caster sugar, but I find brown sugar makes it that bit fudgier and delicious!

Step 6.

Combine fully and using a wooden spoon, make your Christmas wish! Any wishes made over the Christmas pudding are set to come true in the new year.

Step 7.

Carefully add the mixture to the lined and greased pudding steamer. Ensure its top is smoothed over and secure the lid. Cover over the top of the cake with a double sheet of baking parchment with a small, thumb-sized hole in the middle of the sheet. Apply the lid firmly, ensuring it is sealed.

Step 8.

Place steamer in a large saucepan and make sure to only fill halfway up the side of the steamer with boiling water. Cover the pan and boil gently for 31⁄2-4 hours over a medium heat, topping up with more boiling water as needed.

Step 9.

The pudding is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the steamed pudding from the pan and leave to cool.

Step 10.

Keep the top sealed, wrap with parchment paper and string and a layer of tin foil, if you’re feeling extra cautious! Pop it in the fridge and wait for the eruption of flavour on Christmas day!

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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