Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe

Traditional Christmas Pudding

The Christmas pudding recipe is not actually a traditional Irish dessert but is a relative newcomer to the Irish table. Brought to Ireland by British settlers during Victorian times Christmas pudding has been on Irish Christmas menus ever since.

Christmas Pudding Traditions

Some traditions still hold fast one being every member of the household comes to stir the mixture and to make a wish in the hopes it comes true, another is that the pudding should have a sprig of holly in the top to offer protection over the household and of course once the Christmas pudding is decorated it needs to be doused in brandy and set alight before being brought to the table whilst being received with a hearty round of applause.

A coin or talisman used to be added to the mixture but due to choking hazard, this tradition has petered out.

Recipe for Christmas pudding

The following is from our own traditional home recipe for a Mulled Wine Christmas pudding and a plum sauce pudding.

Ingredients for the mulled wine Christmas pudding

Makes 2×1.25ltr (2 pints) each serving 6-8 people

What you will need to make Mulled Wine Christmas pudding:

  • 250g (8oz) currants
  • 250g (8oz) raisins
  • 250g (8oz) sultanas
  • 200g (7oz) glace cherries halved
  • 250g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 60g (2oz) plain flour
  • 150g (5oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 200g (7oz) vegetable suet
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200ml (7floz) mulled wine
  • 3-4 tablespoons Brandy for flaming on Christmas Day optional
  • Holly for decoration
  • 2×1.25ltr (2 pints) pudding basins buttered

How to make Mulled Wine Christmas pudding

  • Place the currants, raisins, sultanas, cherries, sugar, flour, breadcrumbs, suet, spices, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, mix well.
  • Lightly beat the eggs into the mulled wine and then stir into the dry ingredients, well.

Add a little touch of a traditional Christmas by having the family help stir the mixture and make their wishes.

  • Spoon the mixture into the two pudding bowls, pressing down firmly.
  • Cover the basins with a double layer of baking parchment, with a pleat in it, and secure it in place with either an elastic band or tie with a piece of string.
  • Cover with a pleated piece of foil.
  • Place the puddings in the top of steamers and steam for 4 ½ – 5 hours, ensuring that the steamer does not run dry.
  • Remove from the steamer and leave puddings to cool
  • Cover with fresh baking parchment and store in the fridge for 4-6 weeks

To reheat – The best way to re-heat the puddings on Christmas Day is to steam them for 1-2 hours as this will ensure a moist pudding. If you wish you can portion the pudding and reheat in the microwave for 1 minute until hot but be careful due to high sugar content there may be hot spots within the pudding that could burn your mouth.

To flame – If you wish to follow tradition and flame your pudding turn it out onto a warmed serving plate put the holly on top and place on the table. Heat the brandy in a small pot and pour around the base of pudding and ignite with match Stand back and enjoy the applause!

Safety Notes: if using real holly please cover the end of the sprig with a piece of foil so none of the sap enters the pudding. As holly is flammable we poured the Brandy around the base of the pudding rather than over the top but if you wish to pour Brandy over the top please remove holly first. Also these days we are more conscious of health and safety and so it is not recommended that you carry the pudding while it is alight.

Ingredients for Plum Sauce

This recipe makes enough for two puddings so if you just want it for the one pudding just halve the ingredients.

  • 400g (14oz) red plums approx 6-8 plums
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 250g (8oz) superfine (caster) sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons of liquid pectin eg Certo

How to make Plum sauce

  • Put the plums and spices into a pan with 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water, cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until plums are soft.
  • Squash the fruit and push it through a sieve.
  • Pour the puree back into the pan; add the sugar and lemon juice.
  • Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook stirring often for 10 minutes until kit has thickened.
  • Stir in the pectin and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour into 2x150ml (5 fl oz) ramekins lined with cling film, wrap film around them and leave for 2 hours to set.
  • They will keep like this in the fridge for 2 weeks.

To re-heat – Cut a piece out of your pudding the size of one of your plum jellies. Place the jelly inside pudding put the plug back in the pudding and press down firmly – it will now not be flat.
Cover with parchment paper and foil and steam as before for 2 hours.

Turn over and serve. Now stand back and watch your family and guests amazement when they discover the plum sauce surprise.

Brandy Butter for Christmas pudding

Brandy Butter is a nice simple recipe that is traditionally served on Christmas pudding. It also taste’s great with Christmas mince pies which should also be prepared during Christmas.

What you will need to make Brandy Butter.

  • 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g (4oz) icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons Brandy

How to make Brandy Butter

  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar
  • Beat in the boiling water and Brandy until smooth
  • Place in small bowl or ramekins
  • Chill until needed

Last updated January 7, 2020.

About the Author

Serena Ó Longáin
Serena is a cat lover and writer, in that order.