The run up to Christmas has gone from busy to crazy busy with Leigh out for dinner every night this week! Fortunately she did a 50km bike event last weekend which just might help to offset some of the eating out!
Christmas shopping lists have been made and collated and some things have even been ticked off. Of course, if it wasn’t busy and chaotic it wouldn’t feel like Christmas, and we have the summer holidays to recover.
This week we are making a traditional Christmas pudding – well more accurately Leigh is making a traditional Christmas pudding as Abby is not a fan of Christmas pudding, traditional or not (there are way too many raisins and sultanas and not
enough any chocolate!!). This is a recipe that Leigh has been making for several years. It’s a lovely dense, moist pudding that’s simple to make and keeps well. If you usually buy your Christmas pudding but want to try making one, this recipe is great as it’s quick to mix, (the cooking part takes longer though and you do need to be at home) and is really easy with no complicated ingredients.
You’ll need a big bowl for mixing all the ingredients and as the melted shortening re-solidifies some muscle will be required for the stirring. The uncooked mixture is fine to store in the fridge for up to two weeks and the cooked pudding once cooled can be wrapped and stored in a tin for two weeks or frozen. So this is a good recipe to make in advance, but equally good to make at the last minute.
This recipe will easily make a pudding (or two) to feed 10-15 (modest servings). It can also be doubled to make a lot of pudding if you are feeding a larger crowd. It’s made with vegetable shortening and while we’re pretty sure you could substitute this for butter, we’ve never actually tried. Leigh makes the pudding in a traditional steamed pudding bowl with a lid but has also used a Mason & Cash bowl covered with foil and placed on top of an upside down saucer in the bottom of a saucepan (the dish stops the pudding dish touching the direct heat of the bottom of the saucepan). If you can find the time this year, we think you’ll agree it’s well worth making your own Christmas pudding – and it does have a bit of that wow factor too!
Traditional Christmas Pudding
2 1/2 cups flour
450 grams sultanas
230 grams currants
230 grams raisins
lemon peel finely grated (one large lemon)
230 grams vegetable shortening (melted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
230 grams raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup water
In a large bowl, gently mix together the flour, fruit, shortening, salt and baking powder. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the eggs and raw sugar together then add in the golden syrup and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture onto the dry ingredients, then gradually add the milk and water, gently stirring until everything is well mixed and there’s no flour visible. Spray or line your pudding bowl and pour in enough mixture so the bowl has a gap of 2-3 centimetres at the top – this is an approximate measure, just don’t fill it all the way to the top! Put the lid on your bowl, or if your bowl doesn’t have a lid generously cover the bowl with a double layer of tinfoil and tie with string.
Place the bowl in a large saucepan and fill almost to the top with water. I sit my bowl on an upside down saucer which I read you should do, but I can’t remember where or the reason why, but it works well, so I recommend doing it! Slowly bring the water to a boil (you may like to keep a close eye on this part so it doesn’t boil over!) and then turn it down to a gentle simmer. You will need to keep topping the water in the saucepan up as it will evaporate.
The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your bowl. If you’re making a couple of smaller puddings they will take 2-3 hours to cook. A larger pudding will take closer to 5 hours. I always check my puddings regularly and as soon as a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, I take it out. Let the pudding cool completely in the bowl before turning out.
Adapted from ‘Gran’s Kitchen’ Cookbook