Gran’s Christmas Pudding…

I really felt like baking this weekend, but I’m on a diet that restricts my shovelling flour, butter and sugar into my mouth (believe me, it’s for the best) and with a new sudden interest in Christmas (I had been feeling quite apprehensive about the first one without Mum, to the point where I was avoiding thinking about it, but I’ve now taken on her ‘you can’t change it so get on with it and enjoy’ attitude) I decided to make a christmas pudding and some mincemeat.

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As always, I used my Gran’s recipe, I’ve blogged it before, here, but below are the details again:

Ingredients

85g  Fresh white breadcrumbs

85g  Suet

85g Currants

85g  Raisins

85g  Sultanas

35g Candid Peel (finely chopped)

15g  Glace Cherries (chopped)

15g  Almonds (chopped)

100g Soft Brown Sugar

Pinch Salt

1/2 Tsp Mixed Spice

Grating of Nutmeg

1/2 Carrot, Grated

1 Tbls Brandy

Grated zest of 1/4 Orange and Lemon

Mix all the above in a bowl and leave overnight.

1/4 Pint Milk

1/2 Tbls Treacle

1 Lrg Egg (beaten)

Mix the above wet ingredients (next day) and then add to the bowl and stir well.

50g SR Flour

Add sifted flour, mix well and pack into a bowl (about 600ml capacity).  Cover with 2 layers of baking parchment and 1 layer of foil, with a fold in the middle for expansion, tie around tightly with string and add a handle for lifting the pudding out of the pot.  Steam for 5-6 hours then, when completely cold, replace backing parchment and foil with new.

It’s a lovely pudding and, as with most versions, can be kept for months before eating; we have, on occasion, eaten one made the year before that’s been stored away in a dark cupboard and it’s been perfectly good.

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I took the time to pick through the dried fruit, removing any left over stalks.  This always makes me think of Gran, she used to have trays and trays of fruit running up to the festive season and she’d sit for hours picking them over.  You don’t need to do this, but the stalks can taste gritty when you bite into them, especially in mincemeat.

When you are ready to eat it, you need to steam the pud again, Delia says for about 2 hours, but then that’s for a bigger pudding, so maybe you could steam for less time?  I know you can also microwave it, but you’ll need to Google that one.

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Mistakes? Yep, I made a few.  I used a 500ml pudding bowl which was clearly a bit small, there was some room left for expansion when cooking, but seeing the dome it formed on top as it cooked, not enough.  I should have gone for a 600ml, or even 700ml one.  Also, I realised just as I started to steam the pudding that I’d used plain flour instead of self-raising – doh!  I simply scraped the raw pudding mix onto a big plate and added the relevant baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, mixing it in well.  Gran used both with plain flour in her original version, so it should work out fine.  I also revised the cooking time from my earlier post to 5-6 hours steaming after Mum laughed at the 8 I’d originally gone for some years ago, to be fair, it did say 8 in recipes I’d used as references but probably for much bigger puddings.  I notice I reduced Gran’s flour after cross checking with Delia versions, no idea why, maybe I’ll up it back to the original quantities next year.

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I’ve ordered some charms from Vivi Celebrations, I’m planning to cheat and tuck them under the pudding when it’s served, probably wrapped in little squares of greaseproof paper, that way everyone gets one and there is less chance of the boys choking on them.  I’m liking this shop, if money were no option I’d definitely have gone for the super deluxe versions!

Whilst I was making the pudding, I though it would be interesting to check out Mrs Beeton’s versions, I was quite interested to see that at least one of the plum puddings is almost identical.  I hope you can enlarge the photo below, should you wish to see the details.

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I’ve genuinely enjoyed this weekend’s cooking (I also made some of Delia’s Mincemeat as I had so much dried fruit in), it makes me feel connected with people sadly no longer here.  My husband and I argue often on this subject, he sometimes feels ‘suffocated’ by my need for nostalgic objects and rituals from the past, but I find great comfort in them (although I appreciate living with me and all my junk must be very stressful for him).  I enjoy knowing I’m keeping traditions alive, I still always make bread sauce in the way my family always have and their stuffing balls whenever we roast a bird (I’ll blog the recipes when I next make them) and I quite like that my boys are growing up with this same traditions, revised where necessary to make them our own….I say that, but they are both letting me down on the bread sauce side as they wont eat it, I’ll keep trying and slowly wear them down 😉

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6 thoughts on “Gran’s Christmas Pudding…

  1. I know exactly where you’re coming from with sentimental things.I suppose for me it is time that enables you to sort out the things that are very special. I kept hold of loads of things, and when I was ready I decided what to keep. I think it helps if the family is on side or you have a big house! As far as traditions go, I don’t see how you can’t be a part of your past- I use recipes from my nan and kept recipe books my mum made from. Tell your husband it’s in the genes to take the best bits from the past- it’s what us humans do!
    I made Delias carrot cake the other day, and it wasn’t until I’d cut it I realised I used plain wholemeal flour. The boys loved it as it was like bread pudding- not my thing at all!

    • Hi, I agree, I have regretted throwing some things out in the past and with both my parents gone now, it’s really important to me that things are kept that have meaning, including passing down traditions. We plainly just need a bigger house – ha ha ha! I hope your plans are all going well! Bethx

  2. I’m sure your Christmas this year will be lovely Beth, I know though it’s a time of year that brings back memories but it keeps them alive to even if it feels sad at first. Some people in my family are going through similar feelings this year, so your definatly not alone in the way you’ve been feeling about it. My thoughts are with you at the mo. I’m sure though your going to enjoy this Christmas with your family 🙂
    I love those Christmas charms! And your Xmas pudding is looking like it will be gorgeous, your family are lucky indeed! I have been harping on at Henry this wkend about wanting to go to a festive xmas fair as I feel we need more ‘Christmas spirit’ this year, he said I have been reading to much Charles Dickens novels! Cheeky so and so! I too collect lots of nostalgic stuff (or crap as Henry likes to call it!) but I think it takes me to a good place in my memories and so I shan’t listen to him! Neither should you, keep collecting! Love safxxx

  3. Pingback: Winter is Coming… | Rock Cottage Year

  4. Pingback: Ding Dong Merrily… – Rock Cottage Year

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