The most British of desserts, the traditional Christmas pudding was always a must at home. It would be made several months in advance, then re-steamed a few days before christmas. Tradition also dictated that a silver sixpence would be put in the mixture for a lucky person to find (and hopefully not choke on!) A sixpence does not exist any more - let alone a silver one but I do remember putting one in!
Another tradition was that everyone in the family would stir the pudding and make a wish.
This is a great recipe adapted from the
Telegraph on line
Butter a pudding basin (8-10in/20-25cm) and line the base with a circle of baking paper. Into a very large bowl put 4oz/115g raisins, 4oz/115g sultanas, 4oz/115g chopped Smyrna figs, 4oz/115g chopped pitted prunes and 4oz/115g chopped dates.
Add 4oz/115g grated pumpkin and 1 grated apple. Pour over 3½ fl oz/100ml cider or ale and leave to stand for about 20 minutes, until the raisins have plumped up a little.
Add 2 beaten eggs and 2 extra egg yolks, 2 tbsp black treacle and 4oz/115g dark muscovado sugar. Stir in 4oz/115g ground almonds, 4oz/115g vegetable suet and 3oz/85g grated plain chocolate .
Sift together 4oz/115g white flour , ½ tsp ground mixed spice, ½ tsp grated nutmeg and ½ tsp ground cinnamon and fold well into the pudding.
Spoon into the greased basin (or basins, if you are making more than one smaller pudding, in which case reduce cooking time by two thirds). Cover the surface of the pudding with another circle of baking paper.
Cut a large piece of baking paper (big enough to cover the bowl and be tied down) and a similar-sized piece of foil. Lay one on top of the other and fold to make a pleat so they hold together.
Lay over the bowl and tie down with a piece of string. Place in a large, deep pan and pour water in until it reaches halfway up the basin.
Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, turn down to a slow simmer and steam for about 6 hours. Allow to cool and store at room temperature. From time to time, open the seal and sprinkle with brandy. You will need to steam the pudding again for about 3 hours before serving it.