Sophie Conran's Christmas pudding


225g (8oz) shredded suet
225g (8oz) demerara sugar
225g (8oz) large seedless raisins
225g (8oz) sultanas
115g (4oz) candied peel
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
225g (8oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
115g (4oz) flour
115g (4oz) blanched almonds, halved
115g (4oz) glacé cherries
4 medium eggs
150ml (¼ pint) milk
100ml (3½fl oz) brandy


You will also need 2 x 1.2L (2 pint) pudding basins.

To make it even more special we add a silver charm or pound coin to the puddings. The person who finds the charm or coin in their bowl of pud on Christmas Day is promised good luck for the year ahead.

Prepare all the dry ingredients and mix them together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk before stirring into the dry ingredients. Pass around for everyone in the household to stir. Let the mixture stand for 12hr in a cool place.

Grease the pudding basin with plenty of butter. Put a 35.5cm (14in) square of foil on top of a square of baking parchment of the same size. Fold a 4cm (1½in) pleat across the centre and set aside. Repeat with remaining pudding basin.

Stir the brandy into the mixture and divide between the prepared basins, pushing down to pack the mixture in, and level the surface. Put the pleated foil and parchment square (foil-side up) on top of the basin and smooth down to cover. Using a long piece of string, tie securely under the lip of the basin, loop over again and tie to make a handle.

Use a large, deep pan with a tight fitting lid. Lower in the prepared pudding and pour in enough water (trying not to get any on top of the pudding) to come halfway up the side of the basin. Cover pan with the lid, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 6hr, topping up the water as necessary.

When cooked, carefully lift pudding out of pan and set aside to cool completely. When cool, wrap the basin, still with its foil lid, tightly in clingfilm and then another layer of foil, it will keep in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.

To reheat, steam gently for 2-3hr, in the same way as above, until piping hot.

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