A masterclass in cooking Christmas pud from Fran Warde of Borough Kitchen
Stir up Sunday officially fell on 25th November this year—the last Sunday before Advent. This is the date by which, traditionally, Christmas puddings should be made by in order to properly mature. Of course, if time runs out you can always make it nearer the big day, but it will not have as long to mellow and improve, delivering the delicious and traditional flavour.
This recipe uses conventional suet, but if there’s a vegetarian at the table this can be substituted for vegetarian suet very easily.
For the Christmas pudding:
Butter, for greasing
400g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, apricots, cherries, cranberries)
75g dried dates, chopped up
75g dried figs, chopped up
4 tbsp sherry
75g pecans, or other favourite nuts roughly chopped
50g brown breadcrumbs
100g muscovado sugar
2tbsp black treacle
50g plain flour
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
Zest and juice of lemon and orange
For the citrus brandy cream:
450ml double cream
4 tbsp brandy
Zest of ½ lemon
Zest of ½ clementine
1 litre/17cm pudding basin
Grease the pudding basin generously with butter. Cut a ring of baking parchment to line the base and two long strips to line the inside of the bowl across.
Combine your selected mixed fruits, dates and figs, add sherry and mix well. Leave to steep for up to 15 hours, or it can be used straight away.
Stir in the chopped nuts, suet, breadcrumbs, sugar, treacle, flour and spices. Mix well, until evenly blended.
Add the citrus zest, juice and eggs again mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, smooth over the top, cover with a double layer of foil and secure with string.
Elect a pan large enough to put the pudding basin in. Place in a saucepan on a food ring, add enough water to come halfway up the pudding basin, cover with a lid, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours, checking constantly and adding more water as needed.
Once cooked, remove from the pan carefully and allow to cool. Once cool, replace the foil and secure with string, making a handle. Place in a secure, cool and dark place for 1-2 months. When needed on Christmas day, return to the saucepan on a food ring and fill with water to half way up the pudding basin. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
To make the brandy cream, whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Add the brandy and zest, and fold through without incorporating any more air and thickening the cream.
When the pudding is ready, lift it out of the pan and dry, remove the string handle and foil. Place a warm serving plate on top and invert the pudding, give it a shake or two and carefully remove from the basin. Garnish with clementine segments.
Pour the brandy over the pudding, ensuring you get an even covering. If you like, carefully set alight with a match—the alcohol burns off very quickly and this adds real flair to your Christmas table. Otherwise, garnish with a little holly and enjoy. Serve with the citrus brandy cream.
Recipe: Fran Warde
Image: Emma Hatcher
The Borough Kitchen hosts regular cookery classes, including masterclasses on all things Christmas. Check the website for details