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Christmas pudding - how long to cook?

(33 Posts)
TwinLolly Sat 06-Jun-20 17:46:00

I've got my nana's recipe for Christmas pudding (which in essence is a heavy fruit cake.

However, I don't know how long to cook it in a double boiler.

I remember that the uncooked pudding was covered with wax paper and tied with string then left to boil in a double boiler. (Later on is was turned out, a bit of brandy was poured over it and it was lit.)

Can anyone advise me how long I should cook the pudding for, more or less-ish.

Here are the ingredients to give you an idea of the possible size of the pudding:
¼ lb raisins
¼ lb sultanas
¾ lb currants
¼ lb mixed peel
¼ lb beef suet (skinned & chopped)
¼ lb brown sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 eggs
2 cup breadcrumbs
1 oz shelled almonds
2 tsp mixed spice
Chopped prunes/dates (optional)
Grated carrot
Rind & juice 1 lemon
1 cup brandy

But cooking time in a double boiler? hmm

Your thoughts are appreciated. thanks

MawB Sat 06-Jun-20 17:48:48

If you put it on now on a low heat it should be fine.
The sprouts on the other hand should have been started before lockdown.

Squiffy Sat 06-Jun-20 17:55:04

You beat me to it Maw! 😂😂

Squiffy Sat 06-Jun-20 17:56:37

Sorry to be so unhelpful TwinLolly!

Callistemon Sat 06-Jun-20 17:59:01

It's never too soon!
Be prepared.

My mum's recipe which is similar says boil or steam for 6-8 hours
Yesm it's too late now for sprouts to be ready.

kittylester Sat 06-Jun-20 18:56:04

What maw said - with bells on!!

MamaCaz Sat 06-Jun-20 19:01:31


NfkDumpling Sat 06-Jun-20 19:19:38

My MiL’s recipe is similar too. It’ was divided and divided again from her grandmother who was a cook in a big house. It made 1 x 1 lb pudding and 2 x 1/2 lb pudding. They took 5-6 hours steaming. We had the big one at Christmas, one on Mother’s Day and one on Easter Sunday. I used to make double the amount when the kids were small so they lasted two Christmas’. They keep well!

MiL didn’t eat sprouts.

lemongrove Sat 06-Jun-20 19:22:52

My thoughts on this? 😆It’s early June......ask again in December if you are not too busy elsewhere.

Evoha16 Sat 06-Jun-20 19:29:52

Whatever method or cooking time you choose - it’s the second heating for Boxing Day breakfast that counts - poach for 15 mins in brandy butter on a very low heat in a very heavy bottomed pan 😊

Lucca Sat 06-Jun-20 20:09:21

Cater lockdown I’m a bit of a heavy bottomed pan.

Lucca Sat 06-Jun-20 20:09:40

Cater !? After.

Lucca Sat 06-Jun-20 20:10:24

My initial reaction was....isn’t it bad enough having Covid around without mentioning the dreaded Ch word.

TwinLolly Sat 06-Jun-20 20:40:44

😆 I know it's waaaaay to early to ask re Xmas pudding, however I'm typing up my late mother's handwritten recipe book from photographs my sister emailed me.

So far, so good, I've typed them all up with a couple of queries outstanding because some recipes are missing parts and some of the pages are not in their proper places; but for the life of me and my sister - we can't remember Nana's xmas pudding cooking time.

It's those queries that are niggling me because I want to get my recipe folder finished, and print those with queries off (before I forget). Unfortunately Xmas pud was one!

Fortunately for the computer era - we can save our things. Silly though - I do like to have a printed version of the recipes rather than read it from my laptop. But now that they are on the laptop - DH has backed them up on to a hard drive and I've emailed them to my sister as well so that is an extra copy in case all soups hit the roof!

Thanks for the suggestions for cooking time. So anything from between 5 to 8 hours. As soon as a skewer comes out clean - it should do it.

Thanks again!

For those with a sweet tooth - here is a Doughnuts without yeast recipe:

8 oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp B/P
1 ½ oz castor sugar
1 egg
4 Tbs milk
Oil for frying
1 tsp cinnamon
2 oz castor sugar


1.Sift flour, salt & B/P.
2.Add butter, cut & rub in.
3.Add castor sugar.
4.Mix egg, milk & other ingredients. Use fork to mix to a rough dough.
5.Turn out on floured surface, knead lightly.
6.Roll to ¼” thickness and cut using a 2” cutter. Use smaller cutter to cut the middle out. (I used to use a bottle top!)
7.Fry in hot deep oil for 5 mins, drain well.
8.Mix ingredients & roll warm doughnuts in mixture.

Callistemon Sat 06-Jun-20 23:24:54

Actually, it's not too early. It will mature by C*******s
I was thinking of reheating a rather old Christmas pudding tomorrow but my backside seems to have increased since lockdown so perhaps some fruit might be better!

Don't bother with the skewers; it will be cooked through after an hour, probably, but they are always cooked for much longer.

Forget the sprouts. September is plenty soon enough to start boiling them.

I wish I'd typed up MIL's and GMIL's handwritten recipes. I threw them out because they were in such a state.

Witzend Sat 06-Jun-20 23:40:29

I boil mine (a 2 pint pudding basin full) for 5-6 hours, water coming about 2/3 of the way up the basin. It needs topping up regularly with boiling water.
On the day I just microwave it for about 15 minutes - works fine.

DanniRae Sun 07-Jun-20 07:00:18

Just wanted to say that I have a recipe in my recipe folder hand written by my darling mum. She died a good few years ago but seeing her hand writing always brings her back to me. She was a lovely mum sad

mumofmadboys Sun 07-Jun-20 07:10:26

I cook Xmas puddings in the slow cooker and leave them on low for about 8_10 hours.

NfkDumpling Sun 07-Jun-20 07:57:53

Why didn’t I think of using the slow cooker? So obvious really!

TwinLolly Sun 07-Jun-20 16:38:17

DanniRae sorry about your mum. Mine passed on in 2016, a year & 2 months after dad. It still hurts...

To everyone who has been messaging on this page - thanks for your suggestions and tips.

Which reminds me, on a different note.... I believe my parents wedding cake was a heavy fruit cake that Nana had made had been iced with Royal Icing. They kept the top tier in the freezer until me and my twin were born, 3 or 4 years later. They got the remaining top tier out for the christening and decided to see how things were.

The cake was duly defrosted a few days before the christening. But to try it? Well, the Royal Icing was so royal - it had to be chiselled off, short of taking a stick of dynamite to it. The cake underneath was still delicious. So my parents poured some cherry or brandy over it and had it re-iced for the christening. Apparently the cake had aged well and tasted delicious.

Good old Nana and mum! Loved their recipes!

Charleygirl5 Sun 07-Jun-20 17:01:40

Have I been asleep for 6 months? Why did none of you wake me? I have missed Christmas dinner this year, no time to buy never mind cook so it will be two boiled eggs instead.

paddyanne Sun 07-Jun-20 17:17:51

It was traditional to keep a tier of wedding cake for the christening of the first child,of course that was in the days when weddings went before always have spare christmas puddings in the back of the cupboardfor use during the year,its a favourite of my OH , and its very good fried in butter with bacon for breakfast .Alternatively we use a clootie dumpling which isn't quite as rich but just as delicious fried ..or just hot with custard .

lemongrove Sun 07-Jun-20 17:22:17

That’s a lot of fried stuff Paddyanne.....can feel my arteries clogging up just reading it.

Charleygirl 😁
I really wish I could get away with cooking two boiled eggs each at Christmas.....frees up more time for slurping Baileys.

Callistemon Sun 07-Jun-20 17:56:45

My mum used to fry leftover C*******s pudding in butter. But not with bacon.

Charleygirl5 Sun 07-Jun-20 18:58:35

lemongrove Christmas is a time when I am pleased I live on my own and have no living relatives in England or Scotland so I really can do what I like. I normally have an upmarket fish dish supplied by Waitrose only at Christmas- that and a bottle of dry white-and hopefully something watchable on TV, who needs company?