Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (2024)

Disclosure: This blog post was commissionedby The Royal Mint to promote thetradition of Stir-Up Sunday. I was compensated for the cost of ingredients and my time, however all opinions are my own

Today I'm getting into the mood forChristmashere on the blog with a family recipe - my Gran's traditional Christmas pudding recipe!

Don't worry, I know it's early and I promise it won't be wall-to-wallChristmas from here until the big day, but this classic Christmas recipe needs to be shared with you in advance of Stir-Up Sunday, which falls on the last Sunday before Advent.

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (1)

Last year, I shared a gorgeous Christmas Pudding recipe from The Royal Mint, maker of the UK’s circulating and commemorative coins, along with lots of interesting facts about Stir-Up Sunday. You can see us in action making last year's The Royal Mint Christmas pudding in our video (if it doesn't load for you,click here to watch it on YouTube.

This year I'm sharing a different Christmas pudding recipe - this is our very own family recipe passed down from my Gran. Sadly my Gran is no longer with us, but my Mum has been faithfully following her recipe (with a few tiny tweaks) for as long as I can remember, and this year she passed it on to me to try.

There's something really special about following a recipe that has been passed down like this - while I was measuring, preparing and weighing out ingredients I could almost see my Mum and my Gran going through the same lovely routine every year in preparation for a happy family Christmas, and maybe their mothers and grandmothers before them.

Traditions tie us to those that have gone before and can be such a strong link to the past, so I think it's really important for us to pass traditions on to our children for them to pass on in their turn too.

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (2)

Adding a Royal Mint six pence to your Christmas pudding is another greatChristmas tradition, said to bring good luck in the year ahead. Last year we received our very own six pence from the Royal Mint which allowed ourfamily to join in with this lovely tradition.

I hunted down the same six pence to add to our Christmas pudding mix this year too and will do the same every year in the future, passing the six pence on to one of my children when the time comes for them to make their own. Here's my family Christmas pudding recipe to go with it!

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (3)

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding

Ingredients (fills 2 x 1.2L pudding bowls):

  • 400g white crusty loaf
  • 90g carrots
  • 1 large cooking apple
  • 175g dates or prunes*
  • 60g almonds
  • 225g raisins
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 225g suet
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated rind and juice ½ large lemon
  • 1 ½ tbs brandy
  • 1 ½ tbs sherry
  • ¼ pint (150 ml) strong dark ale e.g. Guinness + extra if needed
  • lard, for greasing

Method:

Start by preparing your ingredients. Preheat the oven to200°C (Gas mark 6/390°F). Roughly slice up the loaf and place the slices on a large baking tray. Pop into the oven and bake until toasted and brown all over - timings will vary according to how fresh the bread is.

Once toasted, take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, weigh out the slices to 225g - you may have a little extra. Whizz up 225g of the toasted bread intobread crumbs using afood processor or blender. Tip into a very large bowl (I used a tall sided stock pot for mixing without too much mess!).

Prepare the carrot and cooking apple. The original recipe called for 'minced' carrot and cooking apple, but I whizzed them up in my Vitamix until finely chopped - you could also grate them if you don't have access to a food processor. Add the minced carrot and apple to the bowl with the bread crumbs.

Chop the dates or prunes and almonds and add them to the bowl. You could also throw them in the food processor to quickly chop them as you have it out already.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients; raisins, sultanas, currants, suet, soft brown sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, ground nutmeg, mixed spice, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Stir well to combine.

Break the eggs and add to the bowl. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the bowl. Add the brandy and sherry and stir the mixture well to combine.

Add 150ml of the dark ale to the mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too dry or stiff, add a little more ale until the pudding mixture has a moist consistency.

Cover the bowl and leave for 24 hours to mature. After 24 hours, it will be ready to basin up. You may need to add a little more ale at this point if the mixture is too dry, so keep some on stand by just in case.

Before putting the mixture into basins, call the family together and ask every member of the family to stir the pudding mixture, each making a special Christmas wish for the year ahead as they do so. Add the silver six pence to the mix and stir again until hidden**.

Once the children are out of sight, I must admit I retrieve the six pence and hide it away until Christmas rather than bake it in the pudding. I then hide it on one of the bowls to be covered by a slice of pudding when serving (see notes below!).

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (4)

To prepare the basins:

  • Use 2 x 1.5L basins.
  • Grease with lard. Place a small disc of non-stickpaper at bottom of each basin.
  • Fill to approx 1 inch (2.5 cms) below the top.
  • Put a greased circleof non-stick paper (the size of the top of the basin) over the pudding.
  • Cut a large square of greaseproof paper to go over whole of the basin. Put a fold into the paper to allow room for steam to expand (see photo below).
  • Put a pudding cloth or a square of tin foil on top of this.
  • Tie round with string and then tie ends of pudding cloth, trimming greaseproof paper neatly. If you are using tin foil rather than a pudding cloth, tie a string handle to the rest of the string for ease of lifting the bowl when steaming (see photo below)

If you prefer to use the plastic boil-able pudding basins, follow above up to bullet 5. Then push on lid tightly and trim the greaseproof paper.

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (5)

The puddings will now need to be steamed for 6 hours. To steam your Christmas puddings, place a trivet, upturned saucer or heat safe ramekin in the bottom of a large stock pot (to keepthe pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan). Fill with boiling water to about ⅛th full. Place a pudding in the stock pot and check that the water level is to around half-way up the side of the pudding basin.

Put on the lid and steam at a gentle simmer for 6 hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry and add more water from the kettle to keep it topped up if needed.

Alternatively, you can also steam your Christmas puddings in a slow cooker - as above,keep the pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan with a trivet, saucer or ramekin, fill with water to half-way up the side of the pudding basin, place the lid on tightly and steam on highfor 8 hours (great for steaming overnight!).

Or you could use the oven method to steam them; Preheat the oven to 160°C (Gas mark 3/320°F). Stand the pudding basin(s) in a deep roasting tin, fill with hot water to approx. half way up the puddings(s). Cover the whole roasting tin with a tent of tin foil and cook for6 hours.

Once steamed, cool the puddings then store them in a cool dry cupboard for up to two months until needed.

On Christmas Day, steam the pudding for a further 1 ½ hours before turning out onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar and a sprig of holly to decorate, or alternatively, splash over brandy and light before serving. Our family tradition is to turn off all the lights in the house so that we can enjoy the full effect of our fiery Christmas pudding!

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (6)

NOTES: *The original recipe called for dates, but due to personal preference (and a lifelong hatred of dates!) my mum always replaced them with prunes, so that's what I usedtoo.

We don't drink sherry and I didn't want to buy a full bottlejust for this recipe, so I skipped the sherry and used double the amount of brandy instead.

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (7)

For more delicious and fun food ideas for the festive season,check out theChristmas Food sectionhere on the Eats Amazing blog or pop over and follow my ChristmasPinterest boards for lots more fun ideas from around the web;Christmas,Cute Christmas Food IdeasandHealthy Christmas Food.

What's yourfavouriteChristmas tradition?

Grace

**IMPORTANT - please read: Obviously, due to size, putting a coin in a pudding might cause a risk of choking. And while we might all remember stirring a 2p or 20p piece in our puddings as children, modern knowledge of health and safety might change our thinking towards it, particularly if the coins aren’t pure silver, or have not been sterilised. As such, we recommend that you do not bake your coin into the pudding or when reheating. Instead, we recommend that coins should be placed into the pudding just prior to serving, with the slices then dished out at random to give someone the chance to find it. Alternatively, simply pop the sixpence in its pouch and hide it under one of the table settings before everyone sits down to dinner.

If you do add anything like coins or charms to your pudding, sterilise them first in boiling water. Make sure you choose items large enough to be noticed, or wrap them tightly in a ball of tin foil, and tell everyone to lookout for them. This serves two purposes: it will increase the fun, and it counts as a word to the wise, so that Christmas dinner doesn’t close with people accidentally swallowing the coin or breaking teeth!

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (8)

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Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding

My family recipe for a traditional British Christmas pudding - this lovely recipe has been handed down the generations as a perfect Christmas tradition!

Prep Time30 minutes mins

Cook Time6 hours hrs

Resting Time2 hours hrs 24 minutes mins

Total Time6 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: British, Christmas

Servings: 2 puddings

Author: Grace Hall

Ingredients

  • 400 g white crusty loaf
  • 90 g carrots
  • 1 large cooking apple
  • 175 g dates or prunes*
  • 60 g almonds
  • 225 g raisins
  • 225 g sultanas
  • 225 g currants
  • 225 g suet
  • 225 g soft brown sugar
  • 225 g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated rind and juice ½ large lemon
  • 1 ½ tbs brandy
  • 1 ½ tbs sherry
  • ¼ pint (150 ml) strong dark ale e.g. Guinness + extra if needed
  • lard, for greasing

Instructions

  • Start by preparing your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas mark 6/390°F). Roughly slice up the loaf and place the slices on a large baking tray. Pop into the oven and bake until toasted and brown all over – timings will vary according to how fresh the bread is.

  • Once toasted, take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, weigh out the slices to 225g – you may have a little extra. Whizz up 225g of the toasted bread into bread crumbs using a food processor or blender. Tip into a very large bowl (I used a tall sided stock pot for mixing without too much mess!).

  • Prepare the carrot and cooking apple. The original recipe called for ‘minced’ carrot and cooking apple, but I whizzed them up in my Vitamix until finely chopped – you could also grate them if you don’t have access to a food processor. Add the minced carrot and apple to the bowl with the bread crumbs.

  • Chop the dates or prunes and almonds and add them to the bowl. You could also throw them in the food processor to quickly chop them as you have it out already.

  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients; raisins, sultanas, currants, suet, soft brown sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, ground nutmeg, mixed spice, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Stir well to combine.

  • Break the eggs and add to the bowl. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the bowl. Add the brandy and sherry and stir the mixture well to combine.

  • Add 150ml of the dark ale to the mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too dry or stiff, add a little more ale until the pudding mixture has a moist consistency.

  • Cover the bowl and leave for 24 hours to mature. After 24 hours, it will be ready to basin up. You may need to add a little more ale at this point if the mixture is too dry, so keep some on stand by just in case.

  • Before putting the mixture into basins, call the family together and ask every member of the family to stir the pudding mixture, each making a special Christmas wish for the year ahead as they do so. Add the silver six pence to the mix and stir again until hidden**. Once the children are out of sight, I must admit I retrieve the six pence and hide it away until Christmas rather than bake it in the pudding. I then hide it on one of the bowls to be covered by a slice of pudding when serving (see notes below!).

  • Tradition of adding a silver sixpence to your Chistmas Pudding Mix - with traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe

To prepare the basins:

  • Use 2 x 1.5L basins.Grease with lard. Place a small disc of non-stick paper at bottom of each basin.

  • Fill with Christmas pudding mixture to approx 1 inch (2.5 cms) below the top.Put a greased circle of non-stick paper (the size of the top of the basin) over the pudding.

  • Cut a large square of greaseproof paper to go over whole of the basin. Put a fold into the paper to allow room for steam to expand (see photo).Put a pudding cloth or a square of tin foil on top of this.

  • Tie round with string and then tie ends of pudding cloth, trimming greaseproof paper neatly. If you are using tin foil rather than a pudding cloth, tie a string handle to the rest of the string for ease of lifting the bowl when steaming (see photo below)

  • If you prefer to use the plastic boil-able pudding basins, follow above up to topping with the folded paper then push on lid tightly and trim the greaseproof paper.

  • The puddings will now need to be steamed for 6 hours. To steam your Christmas puddings, place a trivet, upturned saucer or heat safe ramekin in the bottom of a large stock pot (to keep the pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan). Fill with boiling water to about ⅛th full. Place a pudding in the stock pot and check that the water level is to around half-way up the side of the pudding basin.

  • Put on the lid and steam at a gentle simmer for 6 hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry and add more water from the kettle to keep it topped up if needed.

  • Alternatively, you can also steam your Christmas puddings in a slow cooker – as above, keep the pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan with a trivet, saucer or ramekin, fill with water to half-way up the side of the pudding basin, place the lid on tightly and steam on high for 8 hours (great for steaming overnight!).

  • Or you could use the oven method to steam them; Preheat the oven to 160°C (Gas mark 3/320°F). Stand the pudding basin(s) in a deep roasting tin, fill with hot water to approx. half way up the puddings(s). Cover the whole roasting tin with a tent of tin foil and cook for 6 hours.

  • Once steamed, cool the puddings then store them in a cool dry cupboard for up to two months until needed.

  • On Christmas Day, steam the pudding for a further 1 ½ hours before turning out onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar and a sprig of holly to decorate, or alternatively, splash over brandy and light before serving. Our family tradition is to turn off all the lights in the house so that we can enjoy the full effect of our fiery Christmas pudding!

Notes

NOTES: *The original recipe called for dates, but due to personal preference (and a lifelong hatred of dates!) my mum always replaced them with prunes, so that’s what I used too.

Love this recipe idea? Why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it again!

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (9)

Gran's Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What was in the original Christmas pudding? ›

The pudding we know today began life as a pottage. This was a kind of broth, including raisins and other dried fruit, spices and wine. It was thickened with breadcrumbs or ground almonds. Not dissimilar to the mince pies of yesteryear, it often included meat or at least meat stock.

What alcohol is best for Christmas pudding? ›

What better or more traditional way to finish off Christmas dinner than with a showstopping flaming Christmas pud? Brandy works wonderfully well and we've added more punch by infusing it with fantastically festive flavourings.

What do the 13 ingredients in a Christmas pudding represent? ›

A Christmas pudding should have 13 ingredients – that represent Jesus and the 12 disciples. Traditionally, these ingredients include: raisins, currants, suet, brown sugar, breadcrumbs, citron, lemon peel, orange peel, flour, mixed spices, eggs, milk and brandy.

Can I use butter instead of suet in Christmas pudding? ›

If you or someone in your family is a vegetarian and doesn't want to eat suet, look for a recipe that uses butter or margarine instead, such as this recipe for individual Christmas puddings.

What is the oldest Christmas pudding? ›

The tinned pudding is believed to be one of the oldest in the world. A 120-year-old Christmas pudding given to Royal Navy sailors fighting in the Boer War has gone on display.

What is the old name for Christmas pudding? ›

Christmas Pudding (also known as plum pudding or figgy pudding) is a dish as famous as it is misunderstood. In America, Christmas Pudding (also known as plum pudding or figgy pudding) is a dish as famous as it is misunderstood.

Does alcohol burn off in Christmas pudding? ›

Once burning, the heat generated warms the liquid alcohol in the pudding, creating more vapour until eventually there is no more alcohol left to vapourise. At this point, the flame burns out and the pudding is left tasty and un-charred.

Why is my Christmas pudding rubbery? ›

Open the lid slowly once the pressure has released, and let the pudding sit in the water for another 20 mins [if you remove too quickly, the pudding may become rubbery].

Can you eat Christmas pudding past its best before date? ›

Our answer

If the pudding has been stored in a cool, dry place and has been tightly sealed or wrapped then it may well still be fine, but you will need to use your own judgement to decide whether it is fit to eat. We suggest opening up the pudding and inspecting it.

What does Christmas pudding mean to Christians? ›

"The plum pudding's association with Christmas takes us back to medieval England and the Roman Catholic Church's decree that the 'pudding should be made on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity, that it be prepared with thirteen ingredients to represent Christ and the twelve apostles, and that that every family member ...

Is Christmas pudding good for you? ›

The traditional Christmas pudding is therefore by no means a low fat product. Further, the 14% fat from the suet is pure saturated fat, which has been recognized as a contributor to the suffering of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. The traditional recipe provided also contains a high sugar content.

What is the thimble in Christmas pudding? ›

If you're old enough you will remember Christmas puddings containing coins that were said to bring the finder good luck. Before coins, charms were put inside Christmas puddings including a silver coin for wealth, a wishbone for luck, a thimble for thrift, a ring for marriage and an anchor for safe harbour.

Why did my Christmas pudding go Mouldy? ›

The pudding should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. If the pudding is in a warm and humid environment (such as a steamy kitchen) then there is a risk that some mould will develop on the pudding. If you live in a warm or humid climate then it may be better to store the pudding in the fridge or to freeze it.

How do you know when Christmas pudding is cooked? ›

Follow your recipe for the steaming times of your pudding, but if you do need to check then you can insert a skewer through the foil and parchment to check that it comes out clean. Simply patch up the hole with more foil if your pudding needs more time to steam.

Why is my Christmas pudding not dark? ›

After the first 5 hours of steaming the puddings may not look that dark but do not worry as the colour deepens on the second steaming.

What is the traditional English Christmas pudding usually made mostly from? ›

Unlike American puddings, a Christmas Pudding has a sticky, dense sponge, much like a fruitcake, made from mixed dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, citrus juice, and zest. Brandy and spices provide a deep, complex flavor and signature dark color.

What is Christmas pudding in England made of? ›

Christmas Pudding, also known as “plum pudding” for the raisins, not plums—there are no plums in it—was introduced to British countries by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. It's made from suet, dried fruit, candied peel, breadcrumbs, spices, egg, and grated carrots and apples.

What is Christmas pudding called in the USA? ›

It's also been called plum pudding or figgy pudding, which we know from songs, but what is it, exactly? It's nothing like what Americans call pudding, which is a custard of milk and eggs with flavoring. It's closer to fruitcake, although there's no cake in it, and it's boiled instead of baked.

When was Christmas pudding banned? ›

It wasn't until the mid-seventeenth century that this pudding became associated with Christmas which led to it being banned in 1647 by Oliver Cromwell who believed that it and other festive traditions led to drunken revelry instead of sombre reflection.

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