Part 1: Mix together halved cherries, cut mixed peel, dried fruit of your choice in a large bowl. Use the side of a box grater with the largest holes for grating the apple with the skin on, reserve the juice from the apple and add all to the dried fruit mix.
For the oranges, finely grate the orange zest in and add the juice to the fruit mix. Pour in the cider and rum and stir. Leave the mix overnight and stir every few hours to make sure that the fruit on the top and bottom can equally absorb the liquid. Cover the bowl with a tea towel.
Part 2: Leave the butter and eggs out overnight so they are all room temperature, this will prevent the mix from splitting.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth using stand mixer and paddle attachment. Sift together the flour and spices. Add half the flour to the butter mix and alternate adding the eggs and flour until mix comes together.
Add the breadcrumbs to the fruit mix and fold the batter from the mixer into the dried fruit. Let mixture sit overnight and the breadcrumbs will continue absorbing any liquid that hasn’t been fully absorbed yet.
The next day, lightly butter the bowl or pudding basin you will use and cut out a small disc of baking parchment to sit on the base of the bowl. Fill up the bowl with the pudding mix until it is 2 inches from the top of the bowl to allow the pudding to expand. With every spoonful of pudding mix, lightly tap the bowl off the counter to dispel any large air bubbles.
I use the plastic pudding bowls that comes with lids that fit perfectly. To prevent any water getting inside and ruin the days of work that go into puddings, you can add an extra layer of insurance by wrapping the bowl in tinfoil or clingfilm.
To cook the pudding: set a large saucepan on the stove with a trivet on the base of the pot for the pudding to sit on. If you don’t have a trivet, I use a collapsible metal vegetable steamer with the handle unscrewed or an upturned side plate. Put the pudding sitting on the trivet and fill the saucepan with warm water, until the water level is above halfway on the side of the pudding bowl.
Put the lid of the saucepan on and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 6-8 hours. For the first half hour do not lift the lid off the saucepan but after that continue topping up the water level.
A 1.5 litre pudding will be cooked after 6 hours but it is a family preference to cook them for 8 hours as they get darker and taste richer.
To demould the pudding: when you remove the pudding from the water, remove the tinfoil/clingfilm and the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour 3 tbsp of rum on top the pudding while still in the mould. After the pudding bowl is cool enough to touch, tilt the bowl on its side and roll and it should begin to release from the mould.
Be careful to not demould the pudding while very hot as it will start to deflate or lose its shape.
Store wrapped in baking parchment and tinfoil or baking parchment and a biscuit tin Feed the pudding with more rum once a week or twice a week (approx. 3 tbsp Rum). This is down to personal preference as my grandma makes a very boozy pudding for a Pioneer.
Most families have their own pudding recipe, and they all change over time. Mine was passed down to me by my Grandma on my mum’s side, and when I started making the puddings, the currants magically disappeared from my recipe as my mum has always hated currants. When I am at home, I cook like my mum, using a recipe as a guideline so of course I changed a few elements to my grandma's original recipe.
I still make puddings the way my Grandmothers told me to, so it takes 2 ½ days between soaking the fruit, letting the pudding stand and then 6-8 hours cooking. This process can be sped up by warming up the alcohol and adding it to the dried fruits, they will absorb the liquid faster or you can buy pre-soaked fruit. Personally, I prefer to soak the fruit as you can tailor it your own preferences.
The recipe below is gluten free as my brother and I are both coeliacs, but simply use regular flour, regular breadcrumbs if you don’t have any dietary requirements. I prefer to use cider instead of stout which is definitely not very traditional, but it is delicious!
This recipe can be made 3 months before Christmas and will be good for 6 months if stored properly wrapped on baking parchment, in an airtight biscuit container and out of direct sunlight.
Spiced Rum & Orange Christmas Pudding
Yield: 2 x 2 Litre Puddings
Or 2 x 1.5 Litre and 2 x 0.6 Litre Puddings
100g Glacé cherries, halved
50g Cut Mixed Peel
600g Dried Fruit (I use a mix of 250g raisins, 250g sultanas and 100g dried figs)
2 Granny Smith Apples (approx.500g weight grated)
2 Oranges, zest & Juice
1 Can of Cider (500ml)
150g Spiced Rum (I used Captain Morgan)
450g Salted Butter
450g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
7 Medium Eggs
230g Plain Flour, gluten free
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
450g Breadcrumbs, gluten free
Spiced Rum for feeding the pudding
Happy Festive Baking! x