Easy British Christmas Pudding


Proper British Christmas Pudding

  • Servings: 8 - 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Prep time: 45 mins plus a steaming time of 7 hours. 

For me, Christmas can never be complete without a traditional pudding. This is my Easy British Christmas  Pudding recipe, the one I have been making for many years. It may look daunting at first, given the number of ingredients, but simply assemble your cooking equipment and weigh out all your ingredients, and you will be surprised just how quickly this recipe comes together.

If you can make the pudding on Stir Up Sunday which gives it plenty of time to mature. 


450 g dried mixed fruit

25 g mixed candied peel, finely chopped

1 small Bramley cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Grated zest and juice of a ½ large orange and ½ lemon

4 tbsp. brandy, plus a little extra for soaking at the end

55 g self-raising flour, sifted

1 level tsp. ground mixed spice

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

110 g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian

100 g soft, dark brown sugar

110 g white fresh breadcrumbs

25 g whole, shelled almonds, roughly chopped

2 large, fresh eggs

Start by greasing a 1.4-litre pudding basin with a little butter.

Time to Make Your Proper British Christmas Pudding:

  1. Into a large, roomy baking bowl, place the dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange plus the lemon juice (not the zest, which is needed later). Stir well. Then, add the brandy, stir again, then cover with a clean tea towel. Leave the mixture for a couple of hours. If you can leave it overnight that’s even better because it will help develop the flavour.
  2. Once the fruit has soaked into another large baking bowl, then stir together the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon and stir. To this mixture, add the suet, sugar, lemon and orange zest, breadcrumbs, and nuts and stir again, making sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the soaked dried fruits and stir once again.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add to the cake mix and stir; the mixture should have a soft consistency.
  4. Now, gather together the family to take turns stirring the pudding mixture, making a wish and adding a few coins (if you wish to) as is the tradition of Stir Up Sunday. 
  5. Carefully spoon the pudding mix into the basin and gently press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make sure the pudding is well packed. Cover the basin with two large circles of greaseproof paper, a layer of aluminium foil, and tie securely with string. 

Time to Steam Your Christmas Pudding:

  1. Steam the pudding over a saucepan of simmering water for 7 hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure it never boils dry.
  2. Remove the pudding from the steamer and leave to go cold. Remove the paper, using a skewer, prick the pudding several times and pour in a little extra brandy. Re-cover with fresh greaseproof paper, re-tie with string, and store in a cool, dry place until Christmas day.

Cooking Notes:

You can also use a pressure cooker to cook your Christmas  Pudding, which speeds up the process. Check your particular pressure cooker instructions for steaming. 

The pudding, at a pinch, could be eaten immediately as it really does need to be stored and mature until Christmas Day.

On Christmas day, reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with brandy custard or sauce, or plain custard. If you have any leftovers, they reheat beautifully in the microwave. Or, use in a trifle on boxing day, and if, like me, you love to make ice cream, how about stirring through with leftover pudding, delicious. 



classic Christmas pudding

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Credit: © Elaine Lemm