Ho Ho Ho! Festive fun with Steven Saunders

Ho HoHo - Festive Fun
The delicious Christmas pudding – get cooking

I’VE just looked at the calendar and realised the date… Christmas is only weeks away!

I love Christmas. I love the way that families get together, the log fires, huge nerdy jumpers and the smell of roast turkey, Christmas punch or mulled wine and especially Christmas pudding.

I prepared my Christmas fruit mix about a year ago allowing the fruit to be soaking in alcohol for all that time which makes it truly special and this week is the week that I mix it ready for puddings to be served at my Little Geranium in La Cala de Mijas.

If you’ve not yet made your Christmas pudding then this is the week to make it and whether or not you have the fruits marinating for a year in alcohol it will still be a zillion times better than any shop bought pudding, also cheaper and it’s so easy to make!

So this is the week!!  Don’t wait any longer, use this recipe, no other and you’ll love me forever when you taste it! Originally this was a recipe of my great great grandmother who was French and died in the early 1900´s,she loved the English Christmas pud and over the years I have adapted it very carefully to make sure its originality is still in place but it has evolved very slightly!

In 1989 Margaret Thatcher called my Christmas pudding better than Delia Smiths! I wasn’t sure whether or not that was a compliment but I smiled and said Yes Prime Minister…Thank you.

My Great Great Grand Mother’s Christmas pudding from the 1800’s

Makes enough for about eight people You will need two 1.5 litre ceramic pudding bowls. You’ll also need some greaseproof paper, foil and kitchen string.

Pudding ingredients:

175g of plain flour
250g fresh white breadcrumbs
250g suet (vegetable suet is preferred)
175g each of raisins and sultanas (washed)
100g of candied peel
2 oranges zest and juice
175g of dried cranberries
175g dried figs chopped
100 g of dried apricots chopped
100g of glace cherries
100g of ginger in syrup chopped small (but also use some of the syrup.. say 2 tablespoons)
2 large Cox-type apple peeled, cored and chopped fairly small
300g soft dark brown sugar
Generous teaspoon of mixed spice
Pinch of salt
A full wineglass of cognac (or a liqueur such as Cointreau)
6 eggs, beaten lightly

Cooking and mixing instructions

Soak the sultanas, raisins, figs, peel, apricots, cherries, in the brandy and the ginger syrup for a few days giving it a stir now and then.

After a few days mix the ginger, apples, orange juice and zest and the eggs, suet, sugar and the breadcrumbs and then the flour and mixed spice in a separate  bowl.

Use a large mixing bowl. Simply mix all the fruit and everything else together. Stir very thoroughly –

Grease two pudding basins and divide the mix between them.

If you like, you can add a 5p coin, wrapped tightly in greaseproof paper. Pack the mixture firmly into the pudding bowl or bowls, but don’t fill right to the top – leave about 5mm space

Cover the puddings with greaseproof paper. If using ceramic bowls, put on a lid of foil and tie a string handle around the top of the bowl so that you can lift it in and out of the pan. Put the pudding/s in a saucepan of boiling water, to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the bowl. Turn down the heat, put a lid on the saucepan and simmer for about three hours.

Check that the water levels are ok– not too low (won’t cook properly) and not too high

The puddings are cooked when they are nicely dark. Store in a cool dark cupboard until Christmas, then replace the foil and steam for about three hours gently. Flame with brandy to finish and dust with icing sugar and serve with brandy cream or brandy butter.


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