My great-grandmother’s Christmas pudding recipe

I’ve shared a lot of recipes with you over the years, but none so special as the one I’m sharing with you today. This recipe for Christmas pudding has been in my family for at least a hundred years, if not more. This week Nanny showed me how to make it, using the original recipe jotted down by her mother – my great-grandmother – whose lovely writing you can see below (Nanny’s equally lovely writing is underneath it and it’s the same recipe). Who knows how long it had been in the family before that, but I just love the fact that it’s been handed down through the generations. In true 21st century style, I am now using this blog to hand it down to you, dear readers.

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You will need

I normally use metric measurements, as you know, but I’m staying true to the original recipe and giving you the ingredients list in imperial.

  • 1lb raisins
  • 1/2lb currants
  • 1/2lb sultanas
  • 1/4lb candied peel
  • 8oz sugar
  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2lb suet
  • The zest and juice of a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2lb breadcrumbs
  • 1 level teaspoon of salt
  • 1 bottle of sweet stout
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

Step 1

The first step is to put all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl. (NB: those of you who know me well will know that I cannot stand raisins/currants/sultanas, so these are a rare appearance on Cosy Life! Lee will be eating the results of this recipe but I shall not!)


Having weighed out the fruit, you can start mixing the suet, flour, sugar, salt, mixed spice and breadcrumbs in thoroughly. If you want to make your own breadcrumbs, as we did, you can do so using the rough side of a cheese grater and a week-old loaf of white bread.


Step 2

When these dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed together, add the zest and juice of the lemon and then the eggs (beat them before adding). Finally, add the bottle of stout.


Step 3

Grease the pudding basins and cut out circles of greaseproof paper to stick in the bottom. This recipe makes two normal-size puddings and two mini ones.


Then spoon the mixture into the bowls.



Step 4

Cover each basin with a sheet of greaseproof paper, putting a fold into it to allow it to expand while cooking. Tie the paper down with string under the lip of the basin.


Then do the same with a cotton or linen cloth. Once the string is tied, take the top right and bottom left corners of the cloth and tie them together in a knot on top of the basin. Then do the same with the top left and bottom right corners.


Then trip any excess greaseproof paper away.


Step 5

Leave the puddings overnight so that the raisins etc soak up the alcohol. Then you boil the pudding in water for a whopping eight hours. The water should go about half way up the size of the basin and you’ll need to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil dry.


On the day you want to eat it, boil it again for three hours. Obviously I don’t yet have any photos of the finished pudding, as that will be saved for Christmas! But I can share with you the lovely advice of my great-grandmother as noted in her recipe: “They will keep for a long time and are lovely to fetch out on a special day.” I’m looking forward to seeing what Lee thinks to his pudding on Christmas Day!

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