This recipe was based on my mum’s, which was based on her mum’s, and I expect my daughters will carry on the tradition – each generation altering the recipe a little, adding its own tidbit of history. My mum used to make her pudding weeks before Christmas but, even though I intend to every year, I never seem to manage it. It still tastes good, even if it hasn’t had time to mature properly. It’s traditional in our family that everyone gives the pudding mixture a stir and makes a wish.
Christmas Pudding (gluten free, low sugar, nut free)
5 cups (800 g) mixed dried fruit, e.g. – sultanas, raisins, currants, chopped figs, chopped prunes, candied peel, sour cherries, or similar
1 large apple, grated
juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ cup (125 ml) gluten free beer
2 tablespoons brandy or rum (optional)
1 cup (140 g) wholemeal flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (125 g) gluten-free breadcrumbs
½ cup (100 g) dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons molasses
¾ cup (180 ml) oil
Grease a 1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin.
Mix the dried fruit, grated apple, lemon and orange zest and spices in a large bowl. Pour over the beer, brandy or rum and orange and lemon juice, stir well, cover and leave overnight.
Next morning sift the flour and baking powder and add to the fruit mixture, along with the breadcrumbs, sugar and salt. Mix the molasses with the oil and stir. Now everyone have a stir and make a wish!
Pack the mixture into the pudding basin and flatten the surface. If you are using muslin, gather it up and tie with string leaving a little space for expansion. Cover the basin with a double layer of baking parchment and a layer of foil and tie with string.
Place the bowl in the top section of a steamer and steam for 6 hours. If you don’t have a steamer, use a large pan with a trivet or upturned saucer in the bottom for the pudding basin to sit on. Keep an eye on the water level every 1 to 2 hours throughout the cooking time and top up with boiling water when necessary.
When the time is up, carefully remove the pudding from the steamer and allow to cool in the bowl. Then remove the parchment and foil, and cover the basin with new parchment and foil. Keep in a cool, dark place until Christmas. To reheat, steam for 1 to 2 hours. Serve with custard or vanilla ice-cream.