Christmas pudding

The last Sunday before Advent is known as Stir-up Sunday because it’s the day to get cracking on the Christmas pudding.  This year it falls on 25th November, so now is the time to get the ingredients in stock!

Why not give this traditional recipe a try?

Serves 6

Total time required:  

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 6 hrs

Other time: Rest for up to 12 hours


  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 125g currants
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 25g mixed peel
  • 1 orange, the zest of
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 75g vegetable suet
  • 175g vine fruit mix
  • 150ml brown ale
  • 50g dark brown soft sugar
  • 200g sultanas
  • 2 eggs

What to do:

In a large bowl stir together breadcrumbs, sugar, suet, mixed spice and flour. Add almonds, dried fruits and peel, mix well.

Beat together eggs, ale and rum, add to the bowl with the orange zest. Mix well (and make a wish). Cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for up to 12 hrs.

Lightly butter the pudding basin and line the base with a disc of greaseproof paper.

Pack the mixture into the basin and level the top. Cover with a double sheet of greaseproof paper and a piece of foil. Secure by tying string under the basin lip.

Place in a large saucepan and add boiling water to halfway up the basin. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cover.

Cook for 3 hrs, top up with boiling water if needed (the pan mustn’t boil dry). Remove basin from the pan and cool. Remove the greaseproof paper and foil and replace with fresh paper and foil. Store in a cool, dark place until needed.

To serve: Cook as before for 3 hours, turn out onto a warmed plate, remove greaseproof disc and cut into slices.

TIP:  Traditionally, the Christmas pudding is taken to the table flaming .. if you would like to do this, warm about 2 tablespoons of brandy in a small pan on the hob.  Take great care at this point! Pour the warmed brandy over the hot pudding stand well back and ignite the brandy with a match.  Carefully carry the flaming pudding to the table … for safety reasons,  this should be done by an adult!!

Garnish with a holly sprig, and the pudding is delicious served with either brandy butter, brandy cream, brandy sauce, or just double cream.

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fuelling fun for the young at heart!

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Sally Ann
27th Nov 2012
Thanks for voting!
Hi Cath - Yes, I know where Liverpool is! However, as far as I know neither Maryport nor Whitehaven were involved with the Slave Trade, but I could be wrong - certainly Whitehaven would have been capable of taking large sailing vessels and, therefore, lucrative cargoes at the time. I am only passing on what I was told many years ago. Liverpool was a huge port and as Cumberland is not a million miles away it seemed feasible. So why not Lancashire Rum Nicky - pass.
Sally Ann
25th Nov 2012
Thanks for voting!
Alternative to pudding, but very Christmassy is ice-cream with Cumberland Rum Nicky Sauce - 9 oz dried stoned dates, 4 oz dried apricots, 3 pieces stem or crystalised ginger, 2 oz soft brown sugar, 4 tablespoons dark rum. Chop up all the fruit and add the sugar and rum. The rum will preserve it so can make ahead. When want to use heat gently in a small, thick bottomed pan (NOT microwave) and pour over a good quality ice-cream. You can add a little hot water to loosen when warming if necessary.

Why Cumberland - I was told because the last three ingredients (and possibly all) came into the port of Liverpool from The West Indies as Liverpool was, unfortunately, part of the slave trade triangle.' Nicky' I think is colloquial Cumberland, but for what I don't know. Does anyone?
25th Nov 2012
Thanks for voting!
Maryport or Whitehaven are ports in Cumberland - Liverpool is in Lancashire! So the Cumberland tag remains a mystery if the ingredients came into Liverpool!
Sally Ann
24th Nov 2012
Thanks for voting!
Gorgeous! But we all eat too much at Xmas and I like to save the pud until January. It extends the festive feeling and it is comforting on cold, wet miserable days. PS. If you buy shop bought they are usually reduced in January so get nice feeling of saving money aswell and the good ones will keep until next Xmas. Just call me Scrooge!

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