Christmas pudding topped with holly

Classic Christmas pudding

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(22 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 8 hrs Plus 1 hour cooking on the day

More effort

Makes two 1.2 litre puds (each serves 8)

A homemade Christmas pudding is easy to make, then it just needs time in the steamer to turn it into a glorious, rich, fruity dessert. A festive classic

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving (with brandy and ginger butter)

  • kcal550
  • fat25g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs77g
  • sugars16g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.92g
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    For the pudding

    • 50g blanched almonds
    • 2 large Bramley cooking apples



      Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

    • 200g box candied peel (in large pieces) or all citron if you can find it
    • 1 whole nutmeg (you'll use three quarters of it)



      One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury

    • 1kg raisins
    • 140g plain flour
    • 100g soft fresh white breadcrumbs
    • 100g light muscovado sugar, crumbled if it looks lumpy
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 tbsp brandy or cognac, plus extra to light the pudding



      Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

    • 250g packet butter, taken straight from the fridge



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    For the brandy and ginger butter

    • 175g unsalted butter, softened



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • grated zest of half an orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 5 tbsp icing sugar
    • 4 tbsp brandy or cognac



      Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

    • 2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped


    1. Get everything for the pudding prepared. Chop the almonds coarsely. Peel, core and chop the cooking apples. Sharpen your knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.) Grate three quarters of the nutmeg (sounds a lot but it's correct).

    2. Mix the almonds, apples, candied peel, nutmeg, raisins, flour, breadcrumbs, light muscovado sugar, eggs and 2 tbsp brandy or cognac in a large bowl.

    3. Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the bowl, then stir everything together. Repeat until all the butter is grated, then stir for 3-4 mins – the mixture is ready when it subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get everyone to make a wish.

    4. Generously butter two 1.2 litre bowls and put a circle of baking parchment in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of baking parchment, pleating it to allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.

    5. Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan. Watch our video to see how to tie up a pudding correctly.

    6. Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hrs, topping up with water as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight. When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in new baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.

    7. To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest and icing sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and chopped stem ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for up to six weeks.

    8. On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hr. Unwrap and turn out. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    12th Dec, 2019
    Thought I would try this recipe......After removing from saucepan, removing paper and foil, observed liquid bubbling butter round the pudding/bowl edge and floating across the top of the pudding. The pudding surface was pale, soft and not nice squidgy. Resolved to pour off the wet liquid and put the pudding in the oven to cook off the wetness. 20 minutes later the surface had dried off somewhat, turned out the pudding. Whilst hot, decided to try, the pudding did 'crumble' and tear away with the raisins. Did press the mix into the bowl firmly. Next day and cold, the pud is ok. Should I have left the liquid butter on the wet surface to possibly soak back in? Daughter who bakes from a science approach says the recipe seems unbalanced. Any other thoughts?
    Skinni Malinki
    22nd Nov, 2015
    How long will Pud last after the 8 hour bake ?
    12th Oct, 2015
    I'm a bit dubious! I made this yesterday and it's not as dark as in the picture. It also doesn't have that rich, wonderful smell that Xmas pudding has (although it may just be a lighter, just as tasty version!). I'll rate/review once Xmas has been and gone. Put it this way, I only made one small one as I don't have the room to steam several puddings at once, figuring if it was a success, I could make more. I'm sticking to the one! (Plus the backup shop bought one in the cupboard from last year).
    14th Jan, 2015
    hardly "classic" if made without suet!
    Setapak100's picture
    15th Oct, 2014
    I have made this delicious 5 star pud many times. Has anyone successfully warmed it up in a microwave oven? I am aware that many shop puddings are warmed this way but I don't want to spoil the taste of this pudding in any way. It will just make life easier on Chrismas Day when heating 2 puddings ☺️
    Setapak100's picture
    15th Oct, 2014
    I have been making Christmas puddings for about 20 years and this is the most delicious recipe so far. Don't let the amount of butter put you off. This year I bought the peel from a speacialist shop in Provence so it will be interesting to see if it tastes any different. I steam them in the oven and it works really well. For those who don't care for candied peel, this tastes quite different IF you use good quality whole peel, as the recipe says. I find I usually have to buy it online. We had our leftover second pud last week. I kept in fridge and it was absolutely gorgeous after a year!!
    30th Dec, 2014
    What a wonderful pudding! I made it up about 6 weeks before Christmas and we all agreed that it's the best Christmas pudding we had ever had. Moist and light with a subtle taste. We made our own brandy butter rather than follow the recipe here. We actually bought a stand by pudding as when this was cooked initially it looked really greasy. But we needn't have bothered. We will definitely be making this again. Edit - we saved the second pudding to eat in the year but we never got around to it so we thought we'd try it this year. Being over a year old we had a shop pudding on standby but we didn't need it. This pudding was still beautifully moist and full of flavour over a year after it was made.
    17th Dec, 2013
    What can I use instead of the candied peel
    3rd Nov, 2012
    I made this last year and gave a couple away as a gift, I had a phone call from my mum on Christmas Day saying it was the best christmas pudding she ever tasted, I am going to make some half pint puddings this year, I believe you still steam them for the same amount if anyone knows any different it would be good to know :0)
    28th Dec, 2011
    This was the first year I have made the family Christmas pud and this was a resounding success!I decided to use amaretto instead of brandy and also topped up the booze a few times between making the pudding, at the end of October, and Christmas day. I made it in two pudding bowls and I'm glad I did because now I have one to eat on my own when the rest of the family aren't there. Yum!


    Dawn Hardy's picture
    Dawn Hardy
    3rd Oct, 2018
    I am making these as gifts and I will cook them then people can heat them in the microwave what would the guidunse be for reheating please
    goodfoodteam's picture
    12th Oct, 2018
    Thanks for your question. As we have not tested this, we cannot give precise written instructions to pass on. It is possible to use the microwave, although we'd suggest boiling or steaming for best results.
    25th Nov, 2017
    Is nutmeg really the only spice in this recipe? I’ve just mixed it but it doesn’t smell very “Christmassy”
    goodfoodteam's picture
    27th Nov, 2017
    Thanks for your question. Yes it is. Nutmeg has an intense flavour and you're using quite a lot so we hope you'll be happy with the results on eating!
    17th Oct, 2016
    how long should i make my Christmas pudding before christmas.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Oct, 2016
    A rich, traditional Christmas pudding can be made months in advance if wrapped and stored properly in a cool, dry place. We'd suggest making it a month in advance to give time for the flavours to develop. The last Sunday before Advent, 'Stir-Up Sunday', is traditionally when people make their Christmas pudding for this reason.
    15th Oct, 2016
    How can I watch the video? (4. ...Watch our video to see how to tie up a pudding correctly) Thanks!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    31st Oct, 2016
    Thanks for your question. You can find the video here.
    13th May, 2016
    I made this recipe last year and got rave reviews. Today I thought I would start early and make one batch (3 smaller puddings). However, I realized too late that I left out the apples. Do you think this will make a huge difference?
    Claire Dowling's picture
    Claire Dowling
    20th Dec, 2015
    I've been making lovely xmas puds for 30 years and never a problem. This year, I had a senior moment and forgot to put in any nutmeg, mixed spice and cinnamon. The puddings didn't have a xmas smell whilst cooking, which was when I realised what I'd done! I cooked one up the other day, it tastes fruity, but not like a xmas pud. Is there a remedy, or anything I can do please?


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