Seems odd doesn’t it to be talking about Christmas so soon, but in a cooking sense it all begins now with the Christmas cake and puddings needing time to mature.

For those of you that used to buy my Christmas puddings in the old Deli days, I’ve always promised to share the recipe and for some reason never got around to it. This pudding is light and full of flavour unlike the dark, heavy ones that use shredded suet. For me these work so much better for our New Zealand Christmas, leaving you able to move afterwards instead of anchored to the sofa.

There are many people who claim to loathe Christmas pudding, in most cases I suspect that they have never tasted a real one, only the heavy and flavourless commercial version. Food processors offer us a vast range at different prices and qualities but this one should come with a warning, once you’ve made it at home you’ll never be able to buy one again.



The ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Pudding

Makes 2 x 1.8kg puddings


350g grated fresh breadcrumbs

625g each of raisins and sultanas

560g Demerara sugar

175gchopped almonds

175g mixed peel

250g grated cold butter

1 tsp mixed spice

20g each grated lemon zest and orange zest

175g glace cherries

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons lemon juice

200ml cognac

175ml sherry



Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, add the liquid ingredients and mix well again. Fill 2 buttered pudding basins and tie foil across the top with a pleat to allow the pudding enough room to expand. Steam in a covered pan with water coming halfway up the basin sides for 6 hours, topping up water as necessary.  Store in an airy place for 3 months to 1 year.  Steam for 1 hour on day of eating or microwave for 5 to 6 mins.

Like snuggling around an open fire in winter, the Dark Spice liqueur from Distillerie Deinlein is warm enough to make you hope for bad weather and cold evenings every day. Its warm, smooth, seductive flavours come from the most unlikely hero …..the walnut! And what’s more it’s local.

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