How to prep a Christmas Pud

30 Nov

This is going to be a super speedy post because I am absolutely sinking in thousands of cells of data for a Uni project, but if I look at another random assortment of letters and numbers I think I might need to hit something.

So this is my way of unwinding. Simple, yet effective.

And delicious.

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This year I decided to have a go at making my own Christmas pudding. I’ve never done it before, but last year we had a lovely get together of friends for a Christmas meal before we all travelled to our respective families to celebrate the ‘big day’, and a good friend of mine brought the most delicious Christmas pud which had been made so generously for us by her wonderful mother. It has been said that home made Christmas puds really are a bit lighter than the bought versions, and you know what I’m like – I like to know what has gone in to my food. It’s also so comforting and fuzzy when you bring out your home made goodies to a group of besties, be they family or friends, and they realise that you were thinking of this moment weeks ago when you were slaving over a hot stove to make it (and yes, this time the stove DEFINITELY gets hot. Eight hours of hotness in fact). Then you pour over a little brandy, turn the lights off, strike the match and light the pud, listening with great satisfaction to the squeals of delight around the table. Okay, so I’m daydreaming a little now – this pud might be an absolute disaster and fall apart as soon as I put it on the table, but you know what, it’s the thought that counts. That, plus the fact that when he found out I was making the pudding this year, PD oh-so-swiftly bought a ‘back-up’ pud (a Heston one, no less). Great to know those closest to me have the most confidence in me, eh?

I’m remaining confident. Yes. It will be AMAZING.

Anyway, I’m not going to post the recipe for the Christmas pud because I don’t yet know what it will taste like (or if it will work) and there are hundreds of gorgeous ones out there. What I do want to share however, is how to wrap the pud, ready for steaming. I watched a fair few videos of this before doing mine and here are a few handy hints and tips. I recommend reading them all before you start!

1. You need to be thinking about making the pudding now. Like, RIGHT now. The longer you leave it (within reason, obviously), apparently the better it tastes. The pudding also needs time to come together so that it doesn’t fall apart when you turn it out.

2. The bowl. I bought a plastic bowl which is fine for steaming in a pan of boiling water over the hob, but not in the oven. If you want to boil-steam yours in the oven (basically put the pud in a dish of hot water and leave it in a hot oven), make sure that you get the ceramic bowls. Plastic ones are a bit cheaper, and generally come with lids, which means they make great containers throughout the rest of the year!

3. Find yourself a pudding recipe, and a few clean coins (I wrap mine in silver foil) to hide away in the pudding. Traditionally Christmas time has been a time of giving, and a six-pence was stirred into the mix to bring whoever found it wealth in the coming year. On that note, I might put a few coins in, does that count?

4. You want to pack your pudding into the bowl tightly. Give it a jolly good squish.

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5. Get yourself some silver foil, greaseproof paper, butter or margarine for greasing, some string and some scissors and you’re ready to go.

  • Cut a rectangle of foil which is large enough to generously cover the top of the bowl, and then cut a section of greaseproof paper which is slightly smaller than the foil but still large enough to generously cover the top of the bowl. 

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  • Grease the greaseproof paper.
  • Make a little fold in the middle of the foil/paper spread (most people call this a ‘pleat’), and press it down to form a sturdy fold. This allows for a bit of space when the pudding is cooking, normally for steam.

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  • Press the foil/paper around the top of your basin with the pleat in the middle, and going round the basin press the foil/paper gently around the sides.

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  • Tie the foil/paper around once with a piece of string to hold it in place.

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  • Go round the string again with some more string, and double the string back on itself, then knot in place. You want to make it as tight as possible to make sure that no water will be able to get in, otherwise your pudding will be ruined. An extra pair of hands are helpful here!

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  • Once all the string is tied off, bring the foil up so that you can easily see the greaseproof paper. Cut the paper back so that there’s just under an inch showing. Cut the foil back a little to make it a bit more manageable, and then begin to slowly go round the basin, tucking the foil underneath the greaseproof paper so that you can’t see any more paper showing. Keep going round to make it as tightly folded as possible. This takes a little bit of time.

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  • Once you’re done with the foil tucking, you can make a handle for the pudding to make it easier to get the pudding out of the hot water. Double up a piece of string (makes it a bit more sturdy!) and thread it underneath the string on one end of the pudding. This is a bit difficult when you’ve done it as tightly as possible, so I found it easier to leave a trail of string on one side from the first tie off round the top of the basin, and then make sure that the second tie off round the top of the basin had a trail on the other side. This means you don’t have to faff around trying to thread it underneath the string and can simply tie it to the left over string from earlier! (I really hope that makes sense!).

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  • Final tip: if you’re steaming your pudding in a plastic basin in a pan over the hob, make sure you put a saucer or something similar into the bottom of the pan to rest the pudding on.

Keep your fingers crossed that mine turns out okay – if it does, I will most certainly post the recipe up here! So exited for Christmas pudding and brandy butter……possibly my most favourite Christmassy indulgence! xxx


6 Responses to “How to prep a Christmas Pud”

  1. aoifenica November 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I’m making a Christmas pudding this year too. Its my Nana’s recipe and it’s a family favourite so I’ll have to get it exactly right.

    • DrinksAndNibbles November 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Family recipes are the best! Do you have a recipe to share? Or is it family secret 😉 x

      • aoifenica December 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

        Yeah I’ll be doing a post on it so I’ll have it up when I get around to putting it together! 😛

  2. Stephanie December 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I hope it works out well for you. I’d love to see the recipe. I don’t think I’ve had a homemade Christmas pudding in about 25 years. My grandmother used to make them but no one took on the tradition. Maybe next year I will try it.

    • DrinksAndNibbles December 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

      I love family traditions – that’s what baking should be all about 🙂 I’m using one of the good food recipes (if I remember correctly) and have tweaked it ever so slightly. I’ll definitely let you know how it turns out! There’s still time to make your own for this year!


  1. Battenburg | DrinksAndNibbles - March 25, 2013

    […] of silver foil the same length as the tin, and fold it to make a vertical fold (check out my ‘how to prep a Christmas pudding’ pictures to get an idea) which stands up in the tin to divide it into two equal parts (make sure […]

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