Delia's Classic Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce
This one’s always been a winner in my 40 years of cookery writing.
|3oz (75g) shredded suet|
|11/2oz (40g) self-raising flour|
|3oz (75g) fresh white breadcrumbs|
|3/4 level teaspoon mixed spice|
|good pinch freshly grated nutmeg|
|good pinch ground cinnamon|
|6oz (175g) soft dark brown sugar|
|3oz (75g) sultanas|
|3oz (75g) raisins|
|7oz (200g) currants|
|3/4oz (20g) mixed chopped peel|
|3/4oz (20g) blanched almonds, finely chopped|
|1 small Bramley cooking apple (5oz/150g)|
|grated zest of 1/2 medium orange|
|grated zest of 1/2 lemon|
|11/2 tablespoons rum or brandy|
|2fl oz (55ml) barley wine|
|2fl oz (55ml) stout|
|2 medium eggs|
|For the brandy sauce:|
|11/2oz (40g) butter|
|2 tablespoons brandy|
|11/2oz (40g) plain flour|
|10fl oz (300ml) whole milk|
|11/2oz (40g) golden caster sugar|
|4fl oz (110ml) double cream|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will need a 11/2 pint pudding basin, lightly greased.|
This recipe is adapted from Delia Smith’s Christmas
Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding.
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 nuts 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.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Next day 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 a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water 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 steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, 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.
To cook, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer.
Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.
While the pudding is steaming, make the brandy sauce.
Place butter in a medium saucepan with the flour, pour in the milk then, using a balloon whisk, whisk everything vigorously together over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to simmering point and has thickened, turn the heat right down to its lowest setting, stir in the sugar and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes.
After that add the brandy and the cream. Pour the hot sauce into a jug, then cover the surface with clingfilm and keep warm until required.
To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping.
Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top.
Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it.
Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don't pour it over until you reach the table. When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company!
When both flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with brandy or rum sauce, or rum or brandy butter.
If you want to make individual Christmas puddings for gifts, this quantity makes three 6 oz (175 g) 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.
Note: 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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This recipe is a lighter take on the Christmas pudding theme. You can make them a few hours ahead, and re-heat in a medium oven for about five minutes before serving.
One of Delia's favourite Christmas desserts! But don't panic - unlike some souffles these won't fall flat and will elicit murmurs of appreciation as you serve them.
Some people find a traditional Christmas pudding a bit too heavy at the end of a meal: if this is you, you'll love this alternative as it's lighter but still has all the flavours of the real thing.
Lovely light jellies for those who find a traditional Christmas pudding just a little too filling after all that goose or turkey! The cider adds frothy bubbles to the syllabub as long as you make it just before serving...
Hard though it is to believe, you could actually make this cake in the morning and serve it for afternoon tea on Christmas Day, so if you haven't been organised enough, this could be your answer!
An all-in-one version of a traditional sauce, this is best made not too far ahead. A good rule of thumb is to make it when you put the Christmas pudding on to steam on Christmas Day.
If you've got leftover mincemeat this will cheer up a January Sunday lunch beautifully. A ready-made pastry flan case will also save you time, which we have discovered works really well when frozen first.
The perfect Christmas pud for busy people - you can forget all that stirring and macerating with this one! Quick and easy...and it cooks in an hour! If you want to make it ahead it freezes well.
A runnier, more liquid offering than rum butter, this is the sauce of choice in Delia's home at Christmas - and who are we to argue?
Here is another festive dessert that makes good use of home-made mincemeat. Serve it fairly warm, with Cumberland Rum Butter to melt through the lattice.
This is the classic steamed Christmas pudding - with a recipe from Delia that will stand the test of time and become a staple of your festive celebrations.
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