It might seem a bit early to be thinking about Christmas dinner (oh who are we kidding – we’ve been dreaming about it since October!) but lucky for us, it’s finally time to talk about Christmas Pudding. In Ireland, preparations for plum pudding begin in late November, so you’ve no excuse not to start getting your fingers sticky as well.
The pudding is usually made four or five weeks before Christmas Day, and pudding making is a big day in Ireland’s houses, it even has a name. On ‘Stir-up Sunday’ the tradition goes that when the mix has been crushed together, everyone in the household (read: every child jumping up and down beside the bowl) stirs it while making a Christmas wish. And the first blast of Christmas spirit steams through the house.
A few of the other pudding traditions have since been disregarding due to, eh dental bills. Coins stirred into the pudding mix were supposed to mean good luck for whoever found them in their slice. More often, they meant a chipped tooth. Rekindle that tradition at your own risk.
We’ve got together not one but two delectable pudding recipes for you.
The Belle Isle Cookery School in Fermanagh gave us Eileen’s recipe, a particularly scrumptious version with a buttery twist.
Chef Neven Maguire shared a recipe from beloved Auntie Maureen. Maureen’s pudding is very rich and best served with whipped cream or brandy butter.
We’re licking our lips at the thought – enjoy!
Eileen’s Light Butter Plum Pudding
- 225g/8oz Irish Creamery butter
- 225g/8oz soft brown sugar
- Half a bottle of Beamish Irish stout
- 225g/8oz breadcrumbs
- 50g/2oz flour
- Half a glass of Jameson Irish whiskey
- 125g/4oz currants
- 175g/6oz sultanas
- 175g/6oz raisins
- 100g/4oz cooking apple, peeled & grated
- 50g/2oz glace cherries
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- ¼ tsp. mixed spice
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- Grease and line the base of a 1.2/1.4 ltr/2-2½ pt. pudding basin with grease proof paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together well. Add the sifted flour and breadcrumbs alternately with the beaten eggs.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir in the stout, whiskey and orange juice.
- Spoon the mixture into a pudding bowl. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper, tie to secure and wrap in foil.
- Put into a large pan and pour in boiling water to come one third of the way up the basin. Ideally your basin should be standing on a trivet. Bring to the boil and steam for 5 hours, topping up with boiling water as necessary to stop the pot from boiling dry.
- The pudding should be risen and firm to the touch. Cool completely. To reheat, steam for 2 hours.
Auntie Maureen’s Plum Pudding
- 50g (2oz) plain flour
- ½ tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar
- 175g (6oz) raisins
- 50g (2oz) currants
- 225g (8oz) sultanas
- 50g (2oz) candied mixed peel
- 50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
- ½ apple, peeled, cored and diced
- ½ small carrot, grated finely
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 175g (6oz) butter, melted plus extra for greasing
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 300ml (½ pint) stout brandy sauce and whipped cream to serve
1. Sift together the flour, mixed spice, nutmeg and cloves. Add the breadcrumbs, sugar, raisins, currants, sultanas, mixed peel, almonds, apple, carrot, lemon rind, lemon juice and melted butter and mix until well combined. Gradually add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly followed by the stout.
2. Mix everything thoroughly and cover with a clean tea towel, then leave in a cool place overnight. Use the fruit mixture to fill two 1.2 litre (2 pint) greased pudding bowls. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and tin foil, then tie tightly under the rim with string. Store in a cool, dry place.
3. To cook, preheat an oven to 150°C (300°F), Gas mark 2 and stand each pudding basin in a large cake tin three quarters full of boiling water, then cook for 6-8 hours (or you can steam for 6 hours in the usual way). Cool, re-cover with clean greaseproof paper. Again, store in a cool, dry place.
4. On Christmas Day, re-cover with greaseproof paper and foil. Steam, in the same manner, for 2-3 hours until completely cooked through and tender. Cut the plum pudding into slices and arrange on plates.
5. Serve with dollops of the brandy sauce and whipped cream.
Our blog has delicious recipes from all over Ireland.