Boozy Christmas pudding

Serves: 4-6
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2.5 hours


christmas pud100g (4oz) self-raising flour
50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
50g (2oz) ground almonds
275g (10oz) soft dark brown sugar
75g (3oz) suet
225g (8oz) raisins
225g (8oz) currants
225g (8oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) glace cherries, chopped
50g (2oz) flaked almonds
1 tsp cinnamon ground

½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
3 medium eggs
3 tbsp brandy
150ml (¼ pint) brown ale
3 x 0.5 litre pudding bowls


1. To prepare the pudding basins, grease them really well and line the bottom of each one with a small square of greased greaseproof paper.

2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the brandy and brown ale.

3. Combine the fruit mixture with the egg mixture and stir well. Spoon equally into the prepared basins and cover each with a circle of greaseproof paper. Top each basin with a large square of pleated greaseproof paper and secure well with string. Make a handle with a double length piece of string and tie securely through both ends.

4. Place each pudding in a separate steamer or large saucepan with an upturned saucer inside, and pour in enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the basins.

5. Steam for 2-2½ hours, topping up with more boiling water when necessary. Remove and set aside to cool. Replace the greaseproof paper with fresh, ready for re-steaming, and store in a cool dry place.

6. On the day of serving, re-steam the pudding, as above, for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, pierce the greaseproof paper and re-heat in the microwave on full power for 2-2½ minutes, or until piping hot throughout.

7. Remove the greaseproof paper, place a plate on top of the basin and turn upside down. Shake the pudding gently to release on to the plate.

8. To flame, simply heat 2 tbsp brandy in a small saucepan and light before pouring over the pudding immediately.

Cook’s notes: You can make your pudding anywhere up to six months in advance of Christmas. This recipe makes 3 puddings, each serving 4-6 people – that’s one for Christmas Day, one to wrap up as a gift and one for unexpected visitors over the Christmas season, or you can keep it for Easter if you can resist it that long!

Recipe and image courtesy of Schwartz.

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