Oh my do you feel over whelmed by it all – I must admit spotting all those Chrissie decorations at the shops does tend to pop me into a spin! A million and one lists start running through my head – I must make that pudding, and the fruit cake, buy the turkey, have I ordered that fabulous double smoked ham – or maybe we should have seafood this year and the list goes on and on.
Number 1 on the list is the pudding.
Now if you are super organised you will have already made one, so you for organised cooks it’s onto no. 2 and that’s the Christmas cake on my list. Two years ago I was super organised and made my pudding in late October. Last year well it was the week before – however my recipe truly is so delicious matter how early or late you are! Every single person I know who has tried this pudding just loves it – I have adapted it from some lovely old techniques and thrown in a handful of modern twists –
Jo’s 10 best tips about the prep & cooking of a great Christmas pudding:
- Make 2 – because one is just not enough – matter how many are for Christmas lunch or dinner – you will need more!
- Have a lovely pudding bowl – old or new it will be something you will treasure and I am sure if you love the bowl, the pudding tastes better! Mine by the way is bright red – which will not surprise many of you. All good cook shops sell pudding basins and my choice is always ceramic over metal.
- Buy good quality dried fruits – either from a specialty shop (I love Rita’s at Sth Melbourne market) or a GOOD brand you trust from the supermarket.
- Soak the fruit – I love orange liquor and brandy – but you can vary this. The minimum soaking time is 2 hours – but if time allows over night is even better and up to 2 days is excellent. Just keep turning the mixture over and keep it moist.
- Suet mix – I used to order my fresh suet from the butcher – but due to many requests for ‘ease’ I have now adapted the recipe to totally use a prepared suet mix (available at the supermarket). Suet is a much needed secret ingredient in Chrissie pudding – it truly makes all the difference (just ask Grandma)
- Gluten free option: Replace the prepared suet mixture with 150g brown rice flour, 150 g gluten free flour and 200g fresh grated suet (yes you will definitely need it) and of course use gluten free bread for the breadcrumbs.
- Guinness: a must! Now this really adds the colour needed and a delicious flavour.
- Cover the pudding with a sheet of baking paper and foil and secure with string. It is very important water does not seep in and ruin the top of the pud.
- Two methods for the cooking – pop a small trivet or upturned saucer into a large pot, lower in the pudding, fill with boiling water and cover OR place a rack into a large baking dish, place on the pudding and fill with boiling water and cover with a huge sheet of foil – securing it well.
- Reheating – yes it does take that hour or so to reheat the pudding and use the same method you choose for the cooking.
Here’s the recipe for my pudding and the nut topped cake.
How to choose a ham, stuff the turkey and maybe ice cream – let’s chat about that later.