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Recipe  •  20 November 2020


Plum pudding

So-named because it contains prunes, this is a classic Christmas dish, here using butter instead of the traditional beef suet.

Serves 8–10
Prep 45 mins
Soak overnight
Bake 8–10 hrs
Store the pudding will keep in a cool place (if well sealed), or in the freezer for up to 1 year

1kg (21⁄4lb) pudding bowl

85g (3oz) raisins
60g (2oz) currants
100g (31⁄2oz) sultanas
45g (11⁄2oz) mixed peel, chopped
115g (4oz) mixed dried fruit, such as figs, dates, and cherries
150ml (5fl oz) beer
1 tbsp whisky or brandy
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
85g (3oz) ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
150ml (5fl oz) cold black tea
1 dessert apple, peeled, cored, and grated
115g (4oz) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
175g (6oz) dark soft brown sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs, beaten
60g (2oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
115g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
60g (2oz) chopped almonds
brandy butter, cream, or custard, to serve (optional)


1. Place the first 9 ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Put the prunes in a small bowl and pour in the tea. Cover the bowls and leave to soak overnight.

2. Drain the prunes and discard any remaining tea. Add the prunes and the apple to the rest of the fruit, followed by the butter, sugar, treacle, and eggs, stirring well.

3. Sift in the flour along with the mixed spice, then stir in the breadcrumbs and almonds. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.

4. Grease the pudding bowl and pour in the mixture. Cover the top of the bowl with 2 layers of baking parchment and 1 layer of foil. Tie the layers to the bowl with string, then put the bowl into a pan of simmering water that comes at least halfway up the side of the bowl. Steam for 8–10 hours.

5 Check regularly to make sure that the water level does not drop too low. Serve with brandy butter, cream, or custard.

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