Friday, 27 November 2015

Recipe - Christmas Puddings

*Note to self - hitting 'Publish' helps!  On Monday...

I'm all Christmas Puddinged out.  If I haven't made enough this year, then I will simply do without and buy one >.<   I still have my cake to make, I felt absolutely rotten yesterday, full of cold and I didn't have it in me to make it.  I will probably do that today, while Mr G is having his CT scan. Despite my streaming nose and sneezing fits, it was a really nice relaxing day yesterday, I put MTV Christmas on and listened to two countdowns of Christmas songs.  As an awful Christmas song, I didn't think 'Christmas Wrapping' could ever be beaten.  And then I heard Destiny's Child's version of 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'.  Awww hell to the no, Bey.  What were you thinking?  I'll tell you what she was thinking.  'Anything for a quick buck'.  I also heard a nice cover version of  'Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas' by Lady Antebellum, so I bought that to stick in my iTunes Christmas playlist.

It was funny to see what was now defined as a Christmas song.  Not so long ago (in the UK anyway) you had your classics, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and then there was a new wave of songs (which are now themselves classics by age alone!) in the 70's and 80's, Slade, Mud, Wizzard, John Lennon, Wham!, Shakin' Stevens, Paul McCartney.  I don't think there's been a decent proper Christmas song made (an original) since the 1980's.  When I saw Leona Lewis 'A Moment Like This' in the chart I shook my head.  Has the X Factor ruined the Christmas song forever?   On the plus side, I got to hear Steps 'Heartbeat' for the first time in years.  At least that video had fake snow in it.  Guilty pleasures... sigh...

Cooked puddings cooling down

1500g Dried mixed fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Currants)
100g Glace cherries, chopped
100g Dates, chopped
1 Cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Zest and juice of an orange
Zest and juice of a lemon
500 ml Cider (I used a good quality apple Cider)
*optional - 75g of Candied peel - if you're using bags of mixed fruit, this is already in

165g Self raising flour
3 tsp Mixed spice
4 tsp Cinnamon
330g Shredded Suet
330g Soft dark brown sugar
330g White breadcrumbs
25g Flaked almonds
25g Pecans, chopped
25g Walnuts, chopped
6 eggs, beaten

Put the fruit and zests in a large mixing bowl, squeeze over the lemon and orange juices and then add the cider.  Stir well, and cover.  I stir this often to make sure the fruit really absorbs the cider.  Leave overnight if possible.

In another large bowl, put the flour, spices, suet, sugar, breadcrumbs and nuts.  Mix well.

Pour the fruit mixture into the dried mixture.  This is where you really have to give it some mixing, to make sure everything is well combined.  When it is, add the beaten eggs, stirring as you go, making sure everything is well mixed in and there's no dry bits left.

Grease your basins or bowls with butter, and fill with the pudding mixture. 

Cover the top of the puddings with a double layer of greaseproof paper.  Then tightly wrap the basins in foil.

I steam my puddings in a steamer, and I can't really give a specific time, because they're all different sizes.  It's a case of initiative and common sense, the larger ones can take between 6 - 8 hours, the smaller ones between 4 - 6 hours.

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