This Sunday is stir up Sunday, the day for making Christmas Pudding. Elaine Lemm shares her recipe

  • 6hrs plus resting
  • 8-10
  • Medium


  • 1lb /450g dried mixed fruit
  • 1 oz /25 g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • Grated zest and juice
  • ½ large orange and
  • ½ lemon
  • 4 tbsp brandy, plus a little extra for soaking at the end
  • 2 oz /55 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 oz /110 g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian
  • 4oz /110g soft, dark brown sugar
  • 4 oz /110 g white fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 oz /25 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 large, fresh eggs


Christmas can never be complete without a traditional Christmas pudding. This is the recipe I have been making for many, many years. It may look daunting at first given the number of ingredients, simply assemble your cooking equipment, weigh out all your ingredients and you will be surprised just how quickly this recipe comes together.

Start by greasing a 2½ pint/1.4 litre pudding basin with a little butter.

Into a large, roomy baking bowl place the dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange and lemon juice. Stir well then add the brandy, stir again and cover with a clan tea towel and leave for a couple of hours (if you can leave it overnight, even better).

Once the fruit has soaked, into another large baking bowl, stir together the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon and stir. To this mixture add the suet, sugar, lemon and orange zest, breadcrumbs, nuts and stir again making sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the soaked dried fruits and stir once again.
In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs then add to the cake mix and stir, the mixture should have a soft consistency.
Now gather together the family to take turns in stirring the pudding mixture, making a wish and adding a few coins (if you wish to).
Carefully spoon the pudding mix in to the basin and gently press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make sure the pudding is well packed. Cover the basin with two large circles of greaseproof paper, a layer of aluminium foil and tie securely with string.
Steam the pudding over saucepan of simmering water for 6 hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure it never boils dry.
Remove the pudding from the steamer and leave to go cold. Remove the paper, using a skewer, prick the pudding several times and pour in a little extra brandy. Re-cover with fresh greaseproof paper and retie with string. Store in a cool dry place until Christmas day.

Note: The pudding cannot be eaten immediately; it really does need to be stored and rested then reheated on Christmas Day.
On Christmas day reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with Brandy Custard, Sauce or plain custard. If you have any leftover, it reheats beautifully in the microwave.

About The Author

Following a successful career as a chef and restaurateur, Yorkshire's Elaine Lemm is a highly respected food and drink writer and recently voted one of the top 50 in the UK. Elaine is a member of the Guild of Food Writers and author of three books,The Great Book of Yorkshire Pudding, The Great Book of Rhubarb and The Great Book of Tea.

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