Divine Christmas Pudding

Dec 23rd

I realise I’m cutting it fine with this post but you’ve still got time to make my mum’s simple but divine Christmas Pudding recipe. You won’t regret it! To make it even easier I’ve made a short how-to video.

Margaret's Christmas Pudding
Recipe type: Christmas dessert
Cuisine: British
  • 2¼ cups sultanas
  • 1 heaped cup currants
  • 3 cups mixed fruit
  • ½ cup (125ml) brandy
  • 2¼ cups brown sugar
  • 250g margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 4½ cups soft breadcrumbs
  • 1½ cups grated carrot
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 3 tsp bicarb soda
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup (125ml) brandy
  • BRANDY SAUCE (6 portions)
  • 60g butter
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 70ml brandy
  2. Put the fruit together the night before with the brandy in a bowl and leave overnight covered.
  3. To start cooking, cream the margarine and brown sugar well in a large bowl.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Stir in the fresh breadcrumbs, grated carrot, prepared fruit and sifted dry ingredients, then the lemon juice and finally, stir in the brandy.
  6. Mix well and place in 2 x 2-litre greased basins or greased pudding steamers. Make sure to leave a bit of room at the top (approx 2.5cm) for the pudding to rise.
  7. With basins, cover with foil and tie up with a string, or with the steamers make sure to secure the lids properly.
  8. Put the basins or steamers in two large saucepans with water coming half way up the basin/steamer. Make sure saucepan lids are firmly closed. Steam for 4 hours.
  9. Check periodically on the water level and top up if necessary.
  10. After 4 hours let the basins/steamers cool then store in the fridge as they are.
  11. On Christmas Day reheat for 1-2 hours using the same method.
  12. Turn out the puddings on a plate and serve with brandy sauce or ice-cream.
  14. Melt the butter in a saucepan, quickly stir in the flour.
  15. Add the milk gradually and the sugar.
  16. Boil until it thickens.
  17. At the last moment before serving add the brandy and do not reboil the sauce after the brandy is in.


Mum’s divine Christmas pudding tastes even better if you make it a few weeks or even months before Christmas but I can vouch for this pudding tasting amazing the day after you cook it. 

I made two puddings yesterday and had a slice of one this morning – all in the name of research of course. And photography. You can see the slice I took in the photograph. 

Xmas pudding squareIt was delicious but I have to say quite heady at that time of morning with all the brandy in there.

My mum Margaret Nestel, who has just turned 89 years old, has been making her plum pudding every Christmas for as long as I can remember. Her Scottish mother Jeannie Stewart taught her how to make it but Mum says she has changed the recipe a lot over the years, so she claims authorship. Last year she encouraged me to have a go, which I gladly did. I was amazed how straightforward the process was. The secret is a good recipe, which I’m very happy to share with you.

Last year was a trial run really as Mum still made the puddings for Christmas lunch for our big extended family. However, this year Mum asked if I could do it as it was all getting too much for her. Hopefully my brothers and their families will forgive me if my attempt isn’t quite as good as mum’s.

In the Divine Christmas Pudding video you’ll see that I use readymade pudding steamers rather than basins covered with alfoil. You can buy these steamers for about $10 each in supermarkets here in Australia. They’re very easy to use. Also, for anyone reading this outside Australia, we have Christmas in the middle of our hot, humid summers so that’s why the recipe  stipulates storing the puddings in the fridge.

You’ll also notice in the recipe that Mum prefers to use ‘Mixed Fruit’ rather than buying all the different dried fruits. Just make sure to buy a good brand so you get a good variety of fruit. So like I said at the outset there’s still time to nip off to the shop and buy a couple of pudding steamers and the ingredients. This recipe does make quite a large quantity but any leftovers won’t last long, believe me. A cold slice of this Christmas pudding is as heavenly as when served warm with brandy sauce.

Merry Christmas and please let me know if you try Mum’s recipe!

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