Gran's Christmas Pudding
Christmas puddings have endless permutations of ingredients and most families will have a traditional recipe. The origin of this one is unknown. It is very rich and moist, particularly if made one to two months ahead to allow time for the flavours to develop.
Preparation time: 1 hour +6-8 hours initial cooking
(4 1/2 oz) ready to eat prunes, chopped
1. In bowl one put the first nine ingredients in the list and mix together.
2. In bowl two put the next seven ingredients and mix together.
3. Mix together the contents of bowls one and two. The easiest way to do this is with very clean hands.
4. In a basin put the eggs and ale and whisk together and stir into the mixture. Stir in the black treacle.
5. Cover and leave to stand overnight in a cool place.
6. Butter the pudding basin and put a circle of greaseproof paper in the base.
7. Pack the mixture into the basin and smooth the top. Leave a 2.5cm (1 inch) head space.
8. Cut a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment into a 33cm (13 inch) circle. Make a pleat and cover the pudding. Tie with string around the edge, then tie with more string and make a handle so that it can be easily lifted in and out of the pan.
9. Put the basin in the top of a steamer of simmering water and steam for the required time. Remember to top up with boiling water every hour.
10. Put the basin on a trivet (or an upturned saucer) in a large heavy based saucepan. Pour boiling water around the edge until it comes 2/3 of the way up the side of the bowl. Cover with the lid of the pan and simmer for the required time. Remember to top up with boiling water every hour.
11. Cool. Put on a new greaseproof or parchment cover and then cover tightly with foil.
12. Store in a cool dark place until Christmas. It will keep for up to 6 months.
13. Steam for 2 hours before serving.
14. Turn out on to a warm serving plate. Warm 2 tablespoons of rum in a small saucepan. Set alight and carefully pour over the pudding. Place a sprig of holly on the top and serve.
Freezing not recommended.
Tip: This mixture can be divided to make one 1.2 litre (2 pints) and one 600ml (1 pint) pudding.
Steaming times will be 4-6 hours and 2-3 hours respectively.
Recipe courtesy of Women's Institute Complete Christmas, Food And Crafts For A Perfect Christmas by Sian Cook, Margaret Williams and Anne Griffiths. Published by Simon and Schuster Ltd. Available from all good book stores.