This recipe makes two puddings so you have the choice to give one as a gift or enjoy a second one over the holidays.
50g /2oz plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
175g/ 6oz fresh white breadcrumbs
175g/ 6oz light brown sugar
225g /8oz sultanas
175g / 6oz raisins
50g /2oz currants
50g / 2oz glacé cherries halved
50g / 2oz ground almonds
½ dessert apple, peeled, cored and grated
½ small carrot grated
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
175g / 6oz butter melted (plus extra for greasing)
2 eggs beaten
300ml / 1/2 pint Guinness
- Grease two 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding bowls with butter.
- Sieve together the flour, mixed spice and ground cloves into a large bowl.
- Add the breadcrumbs, sugar, raisins, currants, sultanas, cherries, almonds, apple, carrot, lemon juice, lemon rind and melted butter, mixing well to combine.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs, then the stout, stirring constantly until combined.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place overnight.
- Next day pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/ Gas mark 2. Fill the 2 greased pudding bowls and cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and tin foil. Tie carefully under the rim with string to secure.
- Place the puddings in a deep roasting tin and add boiling water until 3/4 full. Cover tightly with a double layer of tinfoil and steam for 6-8 hours.
- Cool, re-cover with clean grease proof paper and store in a clean, dry place until Christmas. (Delia Smith stores hers under the bed in the spare room!)
- On Christmas day you can steam in the same manner for 2 hours or cheat and zap in the microwave for a few minutes. Serve with custard, ice cream, cream, brandy butter or brandy sauce whatever is your tradition and enjoy!
Rhonda’s Food for Thought
Stir up Sunday is the Sunday before Advent. In preparation for Christmas, this is the traditional day to make your Christmas puddings and to have all the family help with the stirring. It may be a simple step but taking time to make a Christmas pudding as a family gives us an opportunity to reflect:
As we weigh up our ingredients – weigh up what is important about Christmas and what is secular and stressful.
As we gather our dried fruit – consider the Spiritual fruit that we have allowed to become dry. What is our “currant” state? Remember that we like fruit when soaked in the Spirit will be restored and refreshed.
As we grate the apple and carrot- think about what is “Great” in our lives and praise God for all his blessings.
As we add the almonds- promise that we won’t go nuts and buy gifts for all our friends and family to leave ourselves broke in January. We will promise to consider sharing what we have with those who have very little.
As we add the breadcrumbs remember that Jesus came to give us the bread of life.
As we add the Guinness remember that eating too much will make us all Stout!!!
As we steam and leave the pudding remember that things don’t happen immediately. We need things to settle and mature- sometimes we have to wait but God knows when the time is right and He knows when we need to mature in faith. He knows that when we have to wait for something it is all the more precious to us.
As we stir follow the tradition to stir 3 times from East to West to remember the wise men. Consider what we stir up in our daily lives without even realising it. Proverbs the book of wisdom reminds us in chapter 6 verse 19 that God hates among other things “ someone who stirs up trouble among friends”.
My prayer this Advent is that we are all stirred up to draw nearer to God and that we put Christ firmly back into Christmas!