Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 8 hrs Plus 1 hour cooking on the day
Makes two 1.2 litre puds (each serves 8)
For the pudding
50g blanched almonds
2 large Bramley cooking apples
200g box candied peel (in large pieces) or all
citron if you can find it
1 whole nutmeg (you’ll use three quarters of it)
140g plain flour
100g soft fresh white breadcrumbs
100g light muscovado sugar, crumbled if it looks lumpy
3 large eggs
2 tbsp brandy or cognac, plus extra to light the pudding
250g packet butter, taken straight from the fridge
For the brandy and ginger butter
175g unsalted butter, softened
grated zest of half an orange
5 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp brandy or cognac
2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
Get everything for the pudding prepared. Chop the almonds
coarsely. Peel, core and chop the cooking apples. Sharpen your
knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and
apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.)
Grate three quarters of the nutmeg (sounds a lot but it’s correct).
Mix the almonds, apples, candied peel, nutmeg, raisins, flour,
breadcrumbs, light muscovado sugar, eggs and 2 tbsp brandy or
cognac in a large bowl.
Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the
bowl, then stir everything together. Repeat until all the butter is
grated, then stir for 3-4 mins – the mixture is ready when it
subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get
everyone to make a wish.
Generously butter two 1.2 litre bowls and put a circle of baking
parchment in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture.
Cover with a double layer of baking parchment, pleating it to
allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place
with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.
Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges
up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and
bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes
the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle
for easy lifting in and out of the pan. Watch our video to see how
to tie up a pudding correctly.
Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hrs, topping up with water
as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight.
When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in new
baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until
To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest
and icing sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and
chopped stem ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively
and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the
fridge, or it can be frozen for up to six weeks.
On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hr. Unwrap and turn
out. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, pour it over
the pudding and set light to it.
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