I am a huge fan of Christmas, in fact... I would go as far to say that it is my favourite time of year. I love absolutely everything about it, the festive cheer, the decorations, spending time with friends and family, and of course, the food! So it might surprise you that as of up until quite recently I had never made my own Christmas pudding before.
In my own signature style, I decided to develop my own Christmas pudding recipe and I must admit, that for a first attempt I am pretty happy with the outcome! This pudding is rich, decadent and moist, and with every bite I hope to bring as much Christmas cheer as I feel during the festive season.
And finally, if you're wondering why I am posting this up for the first time in July, it's because we just celebrated Mid-Winter Christmas! I will take any excuse I can get to get out the Christmas decorations, cook a wonderful festive menu and try to encapsulate the Northern hemisphere version of Christmas!
Shaz's Christmas Pud and Brandy Custard
- Ready in: 40 mins prep (plus 24 hours soaking time and 8 hours steaming time!)
- Complexity: easy
- Serves: 8-10
- 1 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit
- 1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped
- 1/2 cup dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup glaced cherries, roughly chopped into halves and quarters
- 1/3 cup cherry liquer
- 2/3 cup brandy
- 1 cup butter*
- 1 cup dark muscavado (dark brown) sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 4 heaped tbsp custard powder
- 3 cups milk*
- 3 heaped tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup evaporated milk*
- A good splash of brandy - about a double shot
Chop up your prunes, dates and cherries then combine with your mixed fruit in a bowl and cover with cherry liquer and brandy. If you don't want to splash out on cherry liquer (though I highly recommend as you'll find tonnes of uses for this delicious liquer!) then you could use completely brandy. Leave overnight to soak.
Sift (or whisk) together dry ingredients (flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) in a medium-sized bowl.
In a large-sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs/egg whites one at a time. Mix in orange and lemon zest.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once mixed, stir in the fruit soaked in brandy/liquer, and mix until combined.
Grease your pudding basin and lightly dust with flour. I use a two litre pudding basin, but you could get it all in to one a little bit smaller. Pour into the pudding basin/bowl and place the pudding basin into a large saucepan. Fill the saucepan with hot water up to about the halfway point of the pudding basin, cover and bring to a simmer. Steam the pudding for five hours.
Once you've done this, your pudding is all good to go! On the day you want to eat it you will need to steam it again for another three hours, following the same steaming process as above. Serve with custard for a traditional treat!
Mix your custard powder in a sauce pan with a few tbsp's of the milk, whisk together until the powder is dissolved.
Over a medium heat, add in the vanilla and brown sugar, whisking together to mix thoroughly. Slowly add in remaining milk and evaporated milk, stirring constantly to ensure custard doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan as this will create lumps!
Add in brandy to your taste, I like a decent splash but go light if you want a subtle flavour. Let the custard cook stirring constantly over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Once thickened remove from heat and cover with gladwrap to prevent that yucky skin forming on the top. It will thicken up more while resting - you can either serve immediately or place aside and reheat when ready either in the microwave or on the stove top.