The Delia Christmas Pudding

This, without apologies, is my Christmas pudding recipe that has been in print for 30 years, and the one I have used each year ever since. If I say it myself, it is unbeatable, especially when it has had a little time to mature. This recipe makes one large pudding.

Serves 8-10

This recipe is from Delia's Complete Christmas Magazine

The Delia Christmas Pudding
 4 oz (110 g) shredded suet (beef or vegetarian)
 2 oz (50 g) self-raising flour, sifted
 4 oz (110 g) white breadcrumbs (made from a loaf left out overnight - the best way to make breadcrumbs is in a blender, if you have one)
 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice
 ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 good pinch ground cinnamon
 8 oz (225 g) soft dark brown sugar
 4 oz (110 g) sultanas
 4 oz (110 g) raisins
 10 oz (275 g) currants
 1 oz (25 g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped (buy whole peel if possible, then chop it yourself)
 1 oz (25 g) almonds, skinned and chopped
 1 small Bramley cooking apple (7 oz/200 g), peeled, cored and finely chopped
 grated zest ½ large orange
 grated zest ½ large lemon
 2 tablespoons rum
 2½ fl oz (75 ml) barley wine
 2½ fl oz (75 ml) stout, plus a bit extra if needed
 2 large eggs
You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin, lightly greased.


Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar.

Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and almonds, followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. 

Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out. Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together.

Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly.

It's now traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish!

The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout. 

Now cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave to soak for a couple of hours (or overnight).

To steam the pudding, first fill a saucepan with boiling water form a kettle.

Place a steamer on top and bring it back to the simmering point on top of the stove. Pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone's finger for this!). 

It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle.

Place the pudding in the steamer and steam the pudding for 8 hours. Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.

When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the baking parchment and foil and replace with fresh, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring. 

Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.

If you want to make individual Christmas puddings for gifts, this quantity makes eight 6oz (175g) small metal pudding basins.  Steam them for 3 hours, then re-steam for 1 hour.

They look pretty wrapped in silicone paper and muslin and tied with attractive bows and tags.

To make this recipe gluten-free: Replace the suet with either gluten-free or vegetarian suet. Use gluten-free white flour and breadcrumbs made from gluten-free bread, and replace the stout and barley wine with the same amount of sherry.

If you're using gluten-free flour, you will need to add 3 pinches of baking powder to the 2 oz (50 g) of gluten-free white flour. 

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