Christmas Pud

Last Christmas an innocent question from my father resulted in me nearly thrusting a sprig of holly up his nose. The question?

'Did you make this pudding or buy it?'

'Buy it? BUY IT? When have I ever bought a Christmas pudding?'
'Well, you can buy them now can't you? he said looking nervous,  'Marks and Spencers' do them, I've seen the adverts' 
'When has anyone ever given you bought Christmas pud? They've all been made for you by Gran, Mum or me.'
'But isn't it easier to buy it?
'Easy? Do you have any idea how easy it is to make a Christmas pud?'
'Actually no, none at all' he said
'Well it's a piece of cake...pudding, I mean.'
' I'm sure I wouldn't be able to make one'
'Of course you would' I scoffed.
'All you do is measure a load of stuff into a big bowl, stir it up, pack it into a basin and cook it.'

And that is really all you do.

 Dad wouldn't have it though, and continued to claim that he would never be able to make a pudding. I continued to claim that any fool could make one. I became quite agitated until my elder son said 'Calm down Mum it's Christmas',
'I know that!' I yelled, 'why do you think we are eating this flaming pudding!' 
And do you know I'm not honestly sure I said 'flaming'.....

Measure everything, chuck it all in a bowl and mix really well. Use your hands.

The recipe I use most years is based on this one by Delia.
I change a few things. I use wholemeal breadcrumbs instead of white because I rarely have white bread around. I defy anyone to be able to say what kind of bread has been used in something as strongly flavoured as a Christmas pud. I replace the 10 oz of currants with more raisins and sultanas. I leave out the zest of half a lemon and instead use the zest of a whole orange and I leave out the hard-to-find and expensive barley wine and replace it with more stout.

I also add a sixpence.

Make sure each member of the family stirs it and makes a wish. Very important.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight. I'm not convinced leaving it overnight is necessary but I do it anyway.

Pack it into a buttered pudding basin. This is a two pint basin.

Cover with both greaseproof paper and foil, pleated to allow for the pudding to expand. Tie firmly with string.

Steam for 8 hours. I filled the saucepan almost to the top, brought it to a boil and then turned down to a simmer. It did not need topping up at all.
I'm not sure why this shot was taken at an angle, my mind must have been elsewhere.

Cooked pud. 
I will cover it, tying with string again and store on my preserves shelf in the garage. On Christmas day it will need another steaming of 2-3 hours, or you can microwave it. 

Mincemeat next, and that is even easier than pudding Dad.


  1. What a lovely story ~ and I love the fact that you still put in a sxipence, it takes me straight back to my childhood. I have to admit that I have never ever liked christmas pudding, but I always took some as a child to see if I was the lucky finder of the sixpence! :O)x

  2. I can smell Christmas! D made about 80 of these one year to sell for school funds. All costed out by himself and profits to the school. Mind you it's even easier if you can leave in the Aga overnight so perhaps we were cheating a bit.

  3. Christmas Pudding is extrememly easy to make. I can smell yours right now - gorgeous!
    Juie xxxxxxxx

  4. Oh Sue, this story really made me laugh.

    My mum used to make all our family's Xmas puds and we all had to stir the ingredients and make a wish (she was very heavy handed with the booze as I recall). This post has brought a lot of very fond memories back to me :0)

    I also love the fact that you've got a real Sixpence.

    Jill x
    PS - I bought Violet a copy of the Mousehole Cat from the Sandpiper Gallery the last time we visited Mousehole. You're right, it's a lovely story.

  5. I've only ever made christmas cake because i'm a little scared on the whole pudding/ steaming thing... not sure why, maybe i just need a pretty pudding bowl to kick me into action!
    Have you changed your blog layout?? I preferred it before!!

  6. No, I haven't changed the layout. What's different? Does anyone else think it looks different?

  7. He he, my granny kept the pud under the bed in the spare room. Her house was always freezing mind. That looks great. I like pud but cant manage it on the big day. I have had some stonking disasters with readymade puds and melting bowls, ended up throwing the pan out.

  8. Blog layout looks the same as before to me Sue! Have made my mincemeat but not the pud yet - think I'll give your pudding version a go tomorrow (oh and I hate currants too!)

  9. I love Christmas pud haven't made mine yet but I also follow Delia with a few similar tweaks. No barley wine, and extra stout, orange instead of lemon, but I don't mind currants and love extra nuts.

    I hope your Dad got a small portion for being unforgivably rude!

  10. I should say my dad wasn't being rude at all. He knows nothing of bought puds.

  11. Never made the pud..but always cake(which is now constantly being fed with alcohol every week ..hic..one for cake..one for me..hic!
    also homemade mincemeat..once you've ventured ther you'll never want to go anywhere else..delish!!!!mmmmmmmmmm...

  12. Fancy asking the kitchen goddess if she buys Christmas puddings, I did have a giggle at that. I do miss not being able to put money in the puddings now, although I don't do the cake or pudding, that is my mums contribution to Christmas day, as it is always at my home and I do all the rest of it.
    Hugs Sandi xx

  13. Thanks for letting an Oregonian from the US feel like they were there in your English kitchen. Oh for a day watching your family and hearing your delightful accents and customs! I descend from English ancestors and would so love to visit there but have not been that fortunate and may never get there before I croak. :-)

  14. You have convinced me about the pudding - we are having homemade this year.

  15. I'm nearly all geared up for pudding making but not quite. When I did my Tesco online shop they didn't have currants. What's the matter with them? I use the recipe according to Saint Delia too, and for the cake and mincemeat. where would we be without her? !

  16. I've never made a pud - as a child we always had one made by my Mum's friend Lynn - couldn't possibly offend her by making our own! But I'm hosting this year, so maybe, just maybe....

  17. Anonymous1:58 pm GMT

    I still need to make my Christmas pudding but it's proving difficult to gather together all of the ingredients here in Switzerland.

    Do you think if I chop up some driend dates I could use some of thos for the friend fruit bulk (I can't get sultanas or currents here).


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