About this recipe:The last Sunday before Advent is often called ‘Stir up Sunday’. Christmas puddings are best made a month or so before the big day itself so the mixture has time to fully mature. Traditionally, the whole family takes a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish. Another popular ritual is to add a coin or a sixpence into the mix. Whoever finds it on his or her plate on Christmas Day is brought abundant wealth and happiness!
100g glace cherries, such as Billington’s Natural Glace Cherries, halved
1 orange juice and zest
100g butter, unsalted, softened and beaten
a little extra butter for greasing the bowl
165g muscovado sugar, such as Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar
3 eggs, beaten
100g self raising flour
30g almonds, ground
1 eating apple, grated
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:4hr › Extra time:10min › Ready in:4hr30min
Put the dried fruit into a non-metallic bowl with the brandy and juice and zest of the orange. Cover and soak overnight.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
Grease a 1.25 litre pudding basin and line the base with non-stick baking parchment. Spoon the pudding mixture into the basin, ensuring that the mixture does not completely fill the basin (this allows for expansion during cooking) and press down well.
Cover with a pleated piece of buttered foil (the fold allows for expansion), with the buttered side towards the pudding. Fold the foil over the edge of the basin and tie with kitchen string so no steam can escape. Make a string handle to lift the hot basin out of the pan.
Put the basin in a large pan. Pour in boiling water to come half way up the basin. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours, topping up regularly with more boiling water.
Leave the pudding to cool then lift from the pan. Replace the string, foil and paper with a fresh lot. Store in a cool, dark place until needed. Before serving, steam in exactly the same way for 1 1/2 hours.
Allow pudding to cool, then discard foil and replace with a new piece. Store in a cool dark place until Christmas.
Before serving on Christmas Day, steam in exactly the same way for 1 1/2 hours until piping hot. Turn out on to a plate and serve.