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Delia’s Classic Christmas Pudding

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Delia’s Classic Christmas Pudding

By Volunteer Contributor, Diana Earnshaw

I can’t take any credit for this Christmas pudding. This was the pudding I used to make during Delia Smith’s heyday.  It was always a winner. Have to say – there are so many delicious ready-made puddings (check out True Food’s range) now, that I haven’t made one for years. If you love Christmas pud, this is really worth a go.

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  • 3oz (75g) shredded suet
  • 3/4oz (20g) mixed chopped peel
  • 3/4oz (20g) blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 small Bramley cooking apple (5oz/150g)
  • grated zest of 1/2 medium orange
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 11/2 tablespoons rum or brandy
  • 2fl oz (55ml) barley wine
  • 2fl oz (55ml) stout
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 11/2oz (40g) self-raising flour
  • 3oz (75g) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 level teaspoon mixed spice
  • good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • good pinch ground cinnamon
  • 6oz (175g) soft dark brown sugar
  • 3oz (75g) sultanas
  • 3oz (75g) raisins
  • 7oz (200g) currants


Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Don’t forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out.

Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly. It’s now traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish!

The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout.

Cover the bowl and leave overnight.

Next day stir in the sifted flour quite thoroughly, pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone’s finger for this!). It’s also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle.

Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.

Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time. When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring.

Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.

On the day:  Fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours. You’ll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.

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