Land's End Advent Calendar - Day 10: Perfect Christmas Pudding Recipe
Posted on Dec 10, 2014
With Christmas a mere 14 days 13 hours 46 minutes and 53 seconds away (not that we’re counting!), what better time to bring you the Perfect Christmas Pudding recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson on Day 10 of our Land’s End Advent Calendar.
While many of us think all that dried fruit is, well, dry, and the most Christmas pudding is heavy; we are assured this is far from the case with this delicious recipe: the fruit is moist and sticky, and the pudding mystifyingly, meltingly light.
You will need:
150g roughly chopped prunes
175ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
100g plain flour
125g fresh breadcrumbs
150g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1 medium cooking apple (peeled and grated)
2 tablespoons honey
You will need a 1.7 litre/3 pint/1½ quart heatproof plastic pudding basin with a lid, and also a sprig of holly to decorate.
Method (in the words of Nigella):
To make up the entire quantity of mixture, and share between smaller basins – a 2 pint/1 quart one for you, a 1 pint/½ quart one to give away. Three hours’ steaming both first and second time around should do it; just keep the one pudding for yourself, and give the other to a friend, after it’s had its first steaming, and is cool, with the steaming instructions for Christmas Day.
Put the currants, sultanas and scissored prunes into a bowl with the Pedro Ximénez, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for up to 1 week.
When the fruits have had their steeping time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer, and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basin (or basins), remembering to grease the lid, too.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients, either in the traditional manner or just any old how; your chosen method of stirring, and who does it, probably won’t affect the outcome of your wishes or your Christmas.
Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly, then fold in cola-cleaned coins or heirloom charms. If you are at all frightened about choking-induced fatalities at the table, do leave out the hardware.
Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil (probably not necessary, but I do it as I once had a lid-popping and water-entering experience when steaming a pudding) so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (to come halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer (this size of basin happens to fit perfectly in the top of my all-purpose pot) and steam for 5 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away.
When it’s had its 5 hours, remove gingerly (you don’t want to burn yourself) and, when manageable, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin somewhere out of the way in the kitchen or, if you’re lucky enough, a larder, until Christmas Day.
On the big day, rewrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours. Eight hours combined cooking time might seem a faff, but it’s not as if you need to do anything to it in that time.
To serve, remove from the pan or steamer, take off the lid, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze to help unmould the pudding. Then remove the basin – and voilà, the Massively Matriarchal Mono Mammary is revealed.
Put the sprig of holly on top of the dark, mutely gleaming pudding, then heat the vodka in a small pan (I use my diddy copper butter-melting pan) and the minute it’s hot, but before it boils – you don’t want the alcohol to burn off before you attempt to flambé it – turn off the heat, strike a match, stand back and light the pan of vodka, then pour the flaming vodka over the pudding and take it as fast as you safely can to your guests. If it feels less dangerous to you (I am a liability and you might well be wiser not to follow my devil-may-care instructions), pour the hot vodka over the pudding and then light the pudding. In either case, don’t worry if the holly catches alight; I have never known it to be anything but singed.
Serve with Eggnog Cream and enjoy.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all here at the westernmost point of Cornwall & England!