For the first time in 10 or so years I decided to make our Christmas Pudding to take to Mr. CA4G’s sisters place for Christmas Lunch.

Growing up Mum and Nan made our Christmas pudding and the highlight for us children was to make our wishes when we got to have a stir. It was the only time we were allowed to do anything to the pudding. I can remember after they were boiled Nan and Mum would have puddings dangling from the beams of the verandah for at least 2 months before Christmas. Sounds like a lot of pudding with 2 people making them, but Nan used to send a couple to my Aunts in Victoria and my uncle in Sydney. I think one might also have gone international to Nan’s friend in New Zealand. Customs must have had a chuckle at that package. So by the time they were sent off Nan was left with one and Mum had 3 of which one would go in the freezer to have in winter.

There were two recipes that Mum and Nan used on a regular basis. The prize winning Singleton Show Pudding and Margaret Daggs Pudding. Last year I attempted Margaret Daggs recipe. I learnt that I should have gone with the full recipe and not cut it down, cut my calico to a smaller size(90 x 90cm is a bit too big), and get some decent twine.

The best part of cooking Christmas pudding is the smell in the kitchen while it boils away for 4 hours. Unfortunately I cooked mine at work this time and an industrial exhaust fan just doesn’t allow the aromas to linger too long. Oh well at least I was able to use the huge pots we have at work, otherwise I would have been in trouble at home as my pot isn’t quite big enough for the size puddings I had.

On to the recipe. You will need to start this a week or two ahead of time to get the fruit well macerated in the alcohol. If you have sixpences and threepences give them a boil before adding to the pudding. DO NOT USE DECIMAL CURRENCY!!

Margaret Daggs Christmas Pudding

Mixed fruit 1.875 Kg ( I  buy a large bag of mixed fruit and then add glace cherries, figs, dates, blackcurrants, cranberries etc to make it up to the weight required)

Alcohol(rum, brandy, vodka) 750ml(or more if you like)

Breadcrumbs 500g

Plain flour 125g

Butter, softened 250g

Brown sugar 250g

Eggs 6 (59g eggs)

Baking powder 1/4 teaspoon

Golden Syrup 1 Tablespoon

Mixed spice 1/2 teaspoon

Cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon

Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon

Salt pinch

Vanilla 1 teaspoon

Place your fruit in to a container with lid and then pour the alcohol over it. Cover and leave for 1 to 2 weeks.

Dampen your pudding cloth and then dust liberally with flour. Depending how big you want your pudding you can get two big ones or three slightly smaller ones.

Put a water on to boil in large pot/s.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each.

Add golden syrup, and spices, stir to combine.

Sift flour and baking powder into a seperate bowl.

Alternatively stir in the breadcrumbs, flour and fruit until all added. When mixed gather the family members around to have  three stirs and make a wish(cooking with love added).

Mixing the pudding, 3 stirs then make a wish.
Mixing the pudding, 3 stirs then make a wish.

Place cloths over bowls and divide the mixture evenly between them. Put your sixpences and threepences in now if using them.

Dampen the cloth and flour it
Dampen the cloth and flour it
Laying the cloth over a bowl to give shape to the mix
Laying the cloth over a bowl to give shape to the mix

Pull the corners up, and then at the top of the pudding mix bring the fabric together and tie tightly with twine. We tie several times and go up the cloth a bit to keep it all together.

Tied up, good enough for Mr Grey?
Tied up, good enough for Mr Grey?
Too much cloth, knotting away.
Too much cloth, knotting away.

Place in to boiling water and then boil away for four to 5 hours, topping up the boiling water as needed.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble,oh look puddings
Bubble bubble toil and trouble, oh look puddings

When the time has come, lift the puddings from the water in to a colander and sit for several minutes. Using butchers hooks or similar hang the pudding to dry. A week is good but longer is ok as it will keep.

The puddings were hung by the exhaust hood with care.....
The puddings were hung by the exhaust hood with care…..

To reheat on Christmas Day, carefully remove the cloth and wrap in foil, place in 170C oven until hot. You can also add your sterilized coins after reheating by slipping one in to the slices of pudding.

For a bit of drama you can warm some brandy and pour it over the pudding and set it alight. Makes for a nice wow moment.

Our pudding
Our pudding

The pudding also freezes well.

Our family doesn’t use brandy custard on our pudding. We make rum sauce. Which is just milk, sugar, cornflour, vanilla, rum. You boil your milk with the sugar and vanilla add the rum and thicken with cornflour. Easy and you don’t have to worry about the eggs over cooking and becoming brandy scrambled eggs.

I hope your Christmas feast was a wonderful one and you kept family traditions alive!