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The best Christmas pudding

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The best Christmas pudding

Pudding & Cake Serves 6 3h 15 min
A plump and fruity Christmas pud with a Riverford twist: we’ve added an apple for extra moisture. You can simplify the variety of dried fruit, if you like; just make sure it adds up to the same weight in the end. Once steamed, the pudding will keep for weeks. It tastes best if you make it a couple of weeks before Christmas and let it mature. Eat it with brandy butter or clotted cream.

Cook's notes

If you don’t want booze in your pud, you can switch it out for apple juice or some strong tea – Earl Grey works best. Finding a steamer to fit such a large item can prove problematic, so you can simply put it in your deepest pan with 2 inches of boiling water in the bottom and something for the basin to sit on; a shallow upturned bowl or ramekin works well. Crimp a foil lid on top, and then check at regular intervals to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.


  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 100g dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 50g prunes, roughly chopped
  • 50g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 50g glacé cherries (not the bright red ones), sliced
  • 50g candied peel
  • 100ml dark stout
  • 100ml brandy or Calvados
  • 150g suet (you can use vegetarian suet if you prefer)
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 apple, grated
  • juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • butter, for greasing
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Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 3h
  • Step 1

    Put the sultanas, currants, figs, prunes, apricots, cherries, and candied peel into a mixing bowl with the stout and brandy. Stir together and leave somewhere cool overnight.
  • Step 2

    The next day, add the suet, sugar, almonds, eggs, apples, orange zest, and mixed spice. Mix well, until thoroughly combined. Now sieve in the flour, and fold it in firmly, but without overmixing; stop once there are no more visible signs of dry flour.
  • Step 3

    Grease the inside of a pudding basin with butter. Add the mixture and level it with the back of a spoon. Top with a pleated circle of baking parchment and pop on the lid; if you’re using a ceramic basin, create the lid with a double layer of pleated foil, tied tightly to the basin rim with string.
  • Step 4

    Steam for 4 hours (see cook’s notes). Cool completely. Cover with a fresh circle of baking parchment and a clean lid. Store in an airtight container, somewhere dark and cool, until Christmas. To reheat on Christmas Day, steam it for 3 hours.

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