Today is Stir-Up Sunday, the day on which Christmas puddings are made in the churches. This recipe wins, hands down. We tested it against other puddings and it really is the best, I think largely as it has a lighter texture due to the addition of suet. This is the recipe of Granny Dot:
The following quantities make about four 2lb. puddings.
Materials.– 1lb. of raisins; 1 lb. of sultanas; 1 lb. of currants; ½ lb. of mixed candied peel; 2 oz. of almonds; 2 oz. of ground almonds; 1 teaspoonful of mixed spice; 1 nutmeg; 1 lb of suet or butter; 1/4lb of flour; 3/4 lb of fine breadcrumbs; 1 lb of brown sugar; ½ teaspoonful of salt; 9 eggs or 4 eggs, and quarter of a pint of beer; 1 lemon; 1 orange; ¼ pint of brandy.
Method.– Pick over the fruit, stone the raisin, blanch the almonds by placing them in boiling water and removing the brown skins. Finely chop the almonds and candied peel. Grate the nutmeg and the rind of the orange and lemon. Dry the flour in the oven and sift it. In a large basin, mix together the breadcrumbs and finely shred suet, the fruit, the peel, the chopped and ground almonds, salt, nutmeg, spice, grated orange and lemon rind, and sugar. If butter is used, cream it and the sugar together and then add crumbs, etc. Add the sifted flour, and then mix in the beaten eggs. Add the strained juice of the orange and lemon, the milk or be if used, and the brandy. Stir
slowly. Cover the basin with a clean cloth and leave overnight. Stir well again and turn into greased pudding basins. Cover with pudding cloth, scalded in boiling water and well floured. Boil for 8 to 12 hours. Remove the cloth, allow the steam to escape from the pudding, cover them again with greaseproof paper and clean cloth and keep in a cool, dry place until wanted. Boil for a further 6 to 8 hours when required for use.
Mrs C.S. Peel, My Own Cookery Book, 1923
110g mixed candied peel
30g chopped almonds
30g ground almonds
½ tsp mixed spice
½ nutmeg, grated
225g brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
orange, rind and juice
lemon, rind and juice
Serves 16-20, if you make both puddings. You could make both and save one for the following year.
Makes 2 puddings in 1.2 litre basins
1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave overnight in a cool place.
2. Turn into buttered pudding basins.
3. Take a layer of baking paper and a layer of foil (foil on top) on a flat work surface and fold a pleat into the centre to give room for the pudding to rise a little.
4. Place this on top of the basin and tie string around the edge tightly to secure it, folding a length of string across the centre and securing it on the opposite side to form a handle for lifting. Cut around the edges of the foil and paper to form a circle and tuck the foil under the edges of the baking paper.
5. Now place the pudding in a steamer or in a pan of simmering water for 6–8 hours, ensuring the water is kept topped up to ¾ way up the basin.
6. Store in a cool place until use, steaming it for a further 3 hours before serving.