Christmas Pudding


Source This recipe came from Mrs Beeton or another old book, now lost. It came to me from historian and foodie Jim Baker of Plymouth.
Prep time6 hours


Christmas Pudding with Hard Sauce (foreground)This is such a phenomenal favorite at Christmastime that I am surprised not to see it on restaurant menus. Most people approach it with caution, and then eat it with abandon (and Hard Sauce).


2lbLight Brown Sugar
2lbArnold's White Bread (chopped)
2lbSuet (Picked clean and chopped)
1ozNutmeg (ground)
1ozCinnamon (ground)
15ozSultanas (Golden Raisins)
30ozRaisins (Black)
20ozCurrants (Dried)
16ozDiced Candied Fruit
2eaLemon Zest (Zest of 2 whole lemons)
1tBitter Almond Extract
1⁄2cBrandy (I use E&J VSOP)


  1. Process sugar, spices, suet, and bread crumbs in batches in a food processor until well mixed.
  2. Add sultanas, raisins, currants, candied fruit, and lemon peel and mix well by hand.
  3. Beat the eggs and add the brandy and the Bitter Almond Extract.
  4. In a really big bowl, add egg-brandy mixture to dry mixture and mix well by hand.
  5. Put mixture into buttered molds.
  6. Boil, covered, for at least 5-6 hours.
  7. Sprinkle with brandy and cover with buttered parchment paper. Store in mold, covered, for some weeks.
  8. “Feed the beast.” Sprinkle liberally with brandy every week.
  9. At least two hours before serving, boil it up again to heat it through.
  10. Unmold onto a large plate and decorate with a Holly Sprig.
  11. Serve hot with Hard Sauce. It is fun to sprinkle some warm brandy on it and flame it (with due regard for safety, of course).


  • I use brandy, but you can use rum, bourbon, or Irish whiskey depending on your inclination and heritage. Whatever you use, stick with it.
  • One recipe fills a pillowcase, or one large, one medium, and one small Pudding Mold. Pudding molds can be found at antiques shops and some kitchen shops.
  • I get most of my ingredients at Ed Hyder's Mediterranean Marketplace, including the spices measured for me there
  • I cook this a month ahead, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Then I boil it again before serving. To serve at the office, I boil it fully at home, and then keep it warm in a Crock-Pot at work.
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the best yet!

This is the recipe I used this year, and it is being widely hailed as the best Christmas Pudding yet. The most important improvement: this version has less "stuff" in it. So resist the urge to add more raisins, currants, etc.