This is paid post in collaboration with The Royal Mint
I can just about start thinking about Christmas once the first days of November have come and gone. As much as I lament the appearance of Christmas decorations in the last week of October, and smug people telling the world on Twitter that they have finished their Christmas shopping already, some things are best done in advance.
Traditionally families would make their Christmas puddings and cakes on Stir Up Sunday towards the end of November – this year the date is the 22nd. A Christmas pudding is infinitely better made in advance – we’ve often had an extra one at Easter or even the following year. While making the puddings, each member of the family would stir the mixture and make a wish, adding a sixpence coin to the pudding. The person who found it on Christmas Day – or maybe a few days later in the leftovers – would have good luck and find wealth in the year to come.
This year The Royal Mint is giving away 2,015 sixpence coins for members of the public to put into their own puddings. Simply register here for a sixpence, first come first served so be quick! Make sure you apply before the 18th November, so the sixpences can be sent out in time for the 22nd November.
I am delighted to be sharing a Christmas Pudding recipe, created for the Royal Mint by Rachel Walker, Food Editor at Reader’s Digest.
- 170g sultanas
- 140g currants
- 140g raisins
- 200ml water
- 30g plain flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- ½tsp ground mace
- ½tsp ground ginger
- 55g breadcrumbs
- 85g shredded suet (if you cannot get hold of suet, softened butter works just as well)
- 40g chocolate (70%), grated
- 1 cooking apple, peeled and grated
- 85g soft dark brown sugar
- 20g chopped mixed peel
- 55g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 orange, zested
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 1 egg, beaten
- Knob of butter for greasing
- The Royal Mint Sixpence
- 1 litre pudding basin / heat proof bowl
- Greaseproof paper
- Large elastic band
- Stock pot
- Steamer basket/Deep saucer/ramekin
- Put the sultanas, currants and raisins in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Leave to soak, uncovered, overnight.
- Sift the flour and spices into a mixing bowl.
- Add the breadcrumbs, suet / butter, grated chocolate, grated apple, brown sugar, mixed peel, almonds, lemon and orange zest.
- Mix well, using your hands to get rid of any lumps of butter and ensuring the mixture is fully blended together
- Stir in the soaked fruit, which will have plumped-up over overnight. Next, stir in the treacle, brandy and beaten egg.
- Mix well, and stand overnight. While this isn't necessary, the marinating helps the spices soak in. Before you're ready to cook, stir in the sixpence. It's traditional for everyone to give the pudding a turn with a wooden spoon at this stage, and make a wish.
- Use the knob of butter to grease the pudding bowl, and tip the Christmas pudding mixture into it.
- Cut one circle of greaseproof paper, which is few inches bigger than the rim of the bowl. Use a large elastic band to secure it over the pudding bowl with a folded pleat running through the middle. This will room to allow the pudding to release excess steam. Cover the top with a piece of tin foil (same size as the greaseproof paper) and then tie it tightly with the string.
- Make a loop of string across the top, to fashion a handle, so the pudding can be easily lifted in and out of the pan.
- If you are using a steaming pot, pour some water into the bottom of the stock pot – about one eighth full – so that the steaming basket sits in the bottom, just above the water level. Bring the water to boil, and place the Christmas pudding in the basket.
- If you don’t have a steaming basket, simply use the upturned saucer or ramekin so that the pudding basin is kept away from direct contact with the base of the pan. Then fill the stock pot with water to around half-way up the side of the pudding basin.
- Put on the lid, and steam at a gentle simmer for four 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
- If the lid of the stock pot doesn't fit on tightly, it's not ideal, but not disastrous– as long as there's plenty of steam circulating. Keep an even more careful eye on water levels though, as a loosely-covered pot is more likely to boil dry.
- Lift the pudding out of the pan after four hours, making sure you keep the greaseproof lid on – that way you can store the Christmas pudding for up to two months.
- On Christmas Day, steam the pudding again for another two hours, and serve – perhaps with a sprig of holly on top, and a splash of brandy to light.
Post commissioned by The Royal Mint. All opinions our own.