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. 

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


450g 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 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

110 g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian

110g 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 and lemon juice (not the zest, that is needed later). Stir well then add the brandy, stir again and cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a couple of hours but if you can leave it overnight, even better because it will help develop the flavour.
  2. Once the fruit has soaked, into another large baking bowl, stir together the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon and stir. To this mixture add the suet, sugar, lemon and orange zest, breadcrumbs, 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 in stirring the pudding mixture, making a wish and adding a few coins (if you wish to).
  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 and re-tie with string and store in a cool dry place until Christmas day.

Cooking Notes:

The pudding cannot be eaten immediately because it really does need to be stored and rested then reheated on Christmas Day.

On Christmas day reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with Brandy Custard, Sauce or plain custard. If you have any leftover, it reheats beautifully in the microwave.


classic Christmas pudding

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Credit: © Elaine Lemm