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Christmas Pudding With Orange Brandy Butter

  • 10-12
Christmas Pudding With Orange Brandy Butter

This rich, luscious home-made pudding takes very little time to prepare - it's the cooking that's time consuming. Avoid cooking in the microwave - a pudding boiled in cloth tastes far more superior. This recipe is made with light fruits to give it a more summery feel, but for the true traditionalists, I've added instructions to make a darker pudding at the end of the recipe.


  • 2½ cups finely chopped light dried fruits (apricots, pineaplle, pears, apples, etc)
  • ½ cup Brandy, orange liqueur or fruit juice
  • 2x 70 grams almonds (whole or flaked)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 125 grams grated butter
  • 1 apple, grated
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cups stale white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp each ground ginger, mixed spice and salt
  • grated rind and juice of one lemon and one orange
  • 4 eggs
  • large oven bag
  • 1 metre square of calico
  • string

Orange brandy butter

  • 250 grams softened butter, unsalted is best
  • ¾-1 cup icing sugar or caster sugar
  • ½ cup Brandy
  • grated rind of 1 or 2 oranges


  1. Toss the fruit with the alcohol or juice and place in a non-metallic bowl and cover. Leave overnight or up to one month, turning regularly. Toast the almonds in a 180ºC oven for 10 minutes until lightly golden.
  2. In a large bowl put the sugar, butter, grated apple, flour, breadcrumbs, spices and salt, citrus rinds and juice and the fruit with marinating liquid and almonds. Beat the eggs lightly and add. Stir together well.
  3. Open out a large oven bag by cutting down the side and base. Grease the inside well with plenty of melted butter and dust liberally with flour. Scald the calico in hot water and ring out. Place the calico over a large wide bowl and place the oven bag floured side uppermost on top. Pile the pudding mixture on into the centre and bring together. Tie securely with string. (I tie the oven bag first and then I tie the calico bag up).
  4. Have a large stock pot of boiling water ready and place an old saucer or bread and butter plate in the bottom. With the water boiling lower the pudding into the stockpot.
  5. Cover and simmer gently for eight hours, topping up the water level with boiling water from the kettle as needed to ensure that the pudding is always covered with boiling water.
  6. At the end of the cooking time lift the pudding out to hang dry so to achieve the cannon ball shape. When cold store in the fridge for up to six weeks before cooking up for Christmas Day.

To reheat for serving

  1. Bring the stock pot of water to the boil with the saucer and lower the pudding in. Simmer for 3-4 hours and then serve.

To Flambe

  1. Turn the pudding out onto a heatproof dish . Warm about 2 tblsp Brandy or Whisky. Carry the pudding out to guests and clear away anything that might catch should anything go wrong (paper napkins, flowers , crackers) etc. Pour the alcohol over the pudding and light with a match. Do not pour more than 2 tblsp at a time and once it is flaming do not pour any more on. It has the chance to back light through the bottle. Be careful.

Darker pudding

  1. To make a traditional dark pudding, use the recipe above but use dark brown sugar or molasses sugar instead of light brown sugar; dark dried fruits, such as prunes, figs, dates, currants, raisins, etc and Guinness in place of brandy.

Orange brandy butter

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar together well until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly beat in the brandy until it is well worked in and the mixture is smooth. Add the orange rind.
  3. Pile into a bowl to serve or refrigerate for one hour and roll into balls. Serve piled high in a dish.
  4. Serve with hot pudding accompanied with whipped cream.

Cooks Tips

- The pudding needs long slow cooking as the flavours will melt together better. If you are going to reheat it, this also needs to be done slowly. - Keep the water in the saucepan topped up at all times and always use hot water to do this. Adding cold water to the saucepan will take the pudding off the boil and make it soggy. - If you are going to cook the pudding in a basin and not a cloth, then place the mixture into a well-greased and floured eight-cup capacity pudding bowl. Cover with two layers of greased baking or greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Secure tightly with string. Before storing, replace the foil after cooking and tie securely. - Store the pudding in the fridge for up to 6 weeks before eating.

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