No single dish is closer to the heart of the boozy gourmand than Christmas Pud, with its mouth-watering combinations of fruits and lashings of alcohol.
The art of the Christmas Pudding has declined in recent years with the advent of the store-bought, or pre-prepared version, which is almost universally lacking in sufficient texture, moisture and alcoholic content. At Bone Towers, Mother produces this version every Christmas, and after a month locked in the scullery agreed to share her secrets.
Prepare at least four weeks before Christmas—preferably on Stir-up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”. This version will serve 8-10 people.
- 225g (8 oz) stoned muscatels or other raisins
- 225g (8 oz) currants
- 170g (6 oz) brown bread crumbs
- 55g (2 oz) blanched almonds chopped
- 55g (2 oz) glacé cherries quartered
- 55g (2 oz) light muscovado sugar
- 2 tbsp grated orange/tangerine zest
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 3 large eggs
- 125ml (¼ pint) port
- 6 tbsps brandy
- Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together all the liquids, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Butter a pudding basin, and line with buttered, grease-proof paper. Pour in the mixture to fill the bowl, and cover with more grease-proof paper or foil. Place in a large saucepan on a couple of eggcups or similar, pour in a few inches of water and steam for 5 hours.
- Once steamed, feed the pudding with a couple more tbsp of brandy before removing from the pot and putting the bowl away in a cool dry place. On Christmas day, steam for a further two hours before serving.
- To serve, warm a large slug of brandy in a pan, mixed with a tbsp of vodka to get a nice blue flavour. Place the pud on a warm plate (this keeps the flame going longer) and, igniting the warm brandy and vodka, pour it over the top. Serve with brandy butter.