Thursday, July 8, 2010

Christmas Pudding (Gran's)

I love a good pudding.
This one is old fashioned, a very small amount of flour and lots of bread crumbs.  It reminds me of a bread and butter pudding, with loads of eggs and fruit and cooked in a water bath or a steamer.  As I was putting the mix together it didn't feel quite right so I booted off an email to Lucy, who has been making the family Christmas puddings for some years now.  She said had always cooked the recipe from Aunt Happy. Lu felt I had the wrong recipe... I scouted through the book and realised that Nonna has 2 recipes , this one is Gran's, her mothers.  I will do Happy's later.

It was a cold winters night, a perfectly lovely time to eat Christmas Pudding. We stirred brandy into the warm custard, just before serving.  Gran served a Clear Brandy Sauce, the recipe is in Nonna's book, but I'm not a fan, it is just brandy, water and sugar thickened with arrowroot.  I prefer Brandy Custard, or Brandy Butter or just Brandy flambe' - pour some brandy onto the pud and light carefully!

225g Currants
225g Raisins
120g Sultanas
½ Glass Rum/Brandy (⅓ cup?)
225g Butter
¾ cup Sugar
½ cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tabs Mixed Spice
½ Loaf Stale Breadcrumbs (2 cups?)
5 Eggs

1. Mix fruit with Brandy
2. Cream Butter and Sugar, I used brown sugar, but the recipe didn't specify so white would be ok too.
3. Add eggs one at a time
4. Sift Flour, Baking Powder and Mixed Spice
5. Fold Flour, Bread Crumbs, and Fruits and Brandy into Butter mixture
6. Spoon into well greased and paper lined pudding tin.  Secure the tin so that there is no chance of water leaking inside. I used strings to secure and the paper from a block of butter to line the tin. Make sure that you keep an eye on the process so that there is always plenty of water in the saucepan and boil 4 - 5 hours.
7. Store in the fridge until Christmas and then boil a further 2 hours before serving with brandy Custard.

Recipe for Boiled Custard in another post soon!

N.B. How much is half a loaf of bread in Gran's language? And I'm sure it wasn't fluffy white sliced, so I actually used Gluten Free Potato Bread and decided to measure it out to 2 cups, perhaps you could use a little less, certainly no more. And any bread really would be fine.
How much is half a glass of brandy in Gran's language, a brandy balloon? a sherry glass? I decided it doesn't really matter and settled for a measured 1/3 cup, again you could easily put in more.


  1. Yum! I'm not sure if anyone has commented on your excellent photography, but I feel compelled to do so - you are doing a terrific job :) Reading this blog is such a delight, thank you for sharing Nonna's precious recipes in such a novel and creative way.

  2. Jane I just got my first alert to your blog and read about the pudding. This is absolutely a delight to read and to look at! It really is wonderful. I can't wait to cook from these recipes (when I can stop this stupid diet of mine) and incorporate some into our afmily traditions. I miss Nonna so much and this is keeping her memory close. Well done , you must have so much creative energy at the moment! Eloys xxxxx

  3. Thx Eloys, I miss her too and it is so wonderful to be making my way through her books, lots more to come! Emma! Glad that you are delighted, it is my pleasure!

    And if you have any requests please add to the comments wall as I have had quite a few that will be posted soon: Nonna's Lemon Delicious for Jill, Nonna's Curried Prawns and Beef Curry for Charlotte, and I tried to make her salmon rissoles and I can't find a written recipe for these but Lucy is supplying this to me soon.

  4. I have the exact same pudding steamer as in the was my mum's and I still use it...beautiful recipes xx

  5. Jane and Lucy I was so thrilled to find this blog "simmering memories" in an article in Country Style.Your Aunt Happy was my mother-in-law. Colin and Janet were very special role models for me. I well remember Janet in the Hunters Hill kitchen serving up unlimited amounts of warmth and kindness as well as good food. I read your comments about the Christmas pudding. I have made Happy's Christmas pudding for all my family for years but have lost the "Method" and somehow the texture doesn't seem right. I'd be so grateful if you could supply it. My 12 year old granddaughter Ava is a very keen cook and is now following this blog. Thank you for this wonderful blog.