I have to admit, I’ve never made Christmas pudding before but this year I really fancied giving it a go. Christmas pudding brings back fond memories of my Gran. She would make one nearly every Christmas especially for the two of us because we loved it so much. I always enjoyed mine with pouring cream, although these days I’m all about the brandy butter or something else I discovered a couple of years ago – egg nog cream!
This recipe is very loosely based on my Gran’s. I hope she wouldn’t mind that I’ve taken great liberties with her original recipe! I’ve replaced the mixed peel (which I’ve never been a fan of) with crystallised ginger. I don’t remember my Gran ever using cherries in her recipe, but I’ve used them in abundance here purely because I’m a bit of a cherry freak. I couldn’t resist throwing in some pecans because I adore them.
I’ve gone for a double hit of ginger in the form of both stem and crystallised. If you think this is a little OTT for your taste, then I would leave out the Crystallised ginger. But I love the stuff and I’m kind of a more is more gal!
My Gran used to steam her Christmas pud on the hob in a large pan. She would place the pudding basin on top of a little tea plate and pour boiling water half way up the pan. I remember the windows being all steamed up with the condensation and the rattling noise the plate made! Today I’m going for the slow cooker method. Since I started full time work my slow cooker has really come into its own – there’s nothing better than coming home to the smell of your dinner ready and waiting for you!
Cherry, Ginger and Pecan Christmas Pudding
150g currants or sultanas
100g glace cherries
75g dried cherries
25g crystallised ginger, chopped small (optional)
2 balls stem ginger, chopped plus 2 tbsp of the ginger syrup
4 tbsp cherry brandy
2 tbsp ginger wine
Zest and juice of one large orange
One dessert apple, peeled cored and grated
125g soft dark brown sugar
75g shredded suet
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
75g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl. Preheat your slow cooker according to the manufacturers instructions.
Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the cherry brandy and ginger wine. Leave to soak for at least two hours or preferably overnight.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into your greased pudding bowl. Smooth the surface. The mixture should be about 1 inch below the rim.
If your pudding basin has a lid, then cover the basin with a piece of baking paper and pop the lid on. If your basin doesn’t have a lid you will need to cover the top with a tin foil lid.
Now you need to make a tin foil strap if you are like me and don’t have any string in the house! Take two long strips of foil. Fold each piece into thirds lengthwise, and place one piece on top of the other to make a cross. Place your pudding basin in the centre of the strips. Lift up the straps and lower the basin into the slow cooker.
Pop the basin into the slow cooker and carefully pour enough boiling water in to reach halfway up the side of the basin. Pop the lid on and cook on high for *roughly* 8-12 hours. I say roughly because the cooking time will vary depending on your slow cooker model. I actually left my pudding to cook overnight – it was in the cooker for 15 hours in total. So don’t worry about leaving it for a few hours longer, it won’t do any harm. You may need to top up the water a couple of times during the cooking process, so you’ll need to check it very occasionally.
To reheat your Pudding on Christmas Day, simply wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 150C for about one hour OR to free up much needed oven space, preheat in the slow cooker on high using exactly the same method as above for 3-5 hours.