Have a taste of the traditional with this classic boiled Christmas pudding consisting of dried fruit, rum, and more. Although it takes a while to be ready, it requires nothing more than putting everything together as you busy away.
- 4 cups (750 g) mixed dried fruit
- 1⅓ cups (185 g) seeded dried dates, chopped coarsely
- 1¼ cups (185 g) raisins, chopped coarsely
- 1½ cups (375 ml) water
- ¾ cup (165 g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 cup (200 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 250 g (8 ounces) butter, chopped
- 1½ tsps bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3 eggs, beaten lightly
- ¼ cup (60 ml) dark rum
- 3 cups (210 g) firmly packed fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1¾ cups (260 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 tsps mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 60 cm (24-inch) square of calico
- ⅓ cup (50 g) plain (all-purpose) flour, extra
- 2.5 (2.5 yards) kitchen string
Stir fruit, the water, sugars and butter in large saucepan over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 8 mins. Stir in soda; cool.
Stir egg, rum, breadcrumbs and sifted dry ingredients into fruit mixture.
Fill a large boiler three-quarters full of hot water, cover; bring to the boil. Have string and extra flour ready. Wearing thick rubber gloves, drop pudding cloth in boiling water; squeeze excess water from cloth. Spread hot cloth on bench, rub extra flour onto cloth 40 cm (16 inches) in diameter, leaving flour a little thicker in centre.
Place pudding mixture in centre of cloth. Tie cloth tightly with string as close to mixture as possible. Knot two pairs of corners together.
Lower pudding into boiling water. Cover with tight lid; boil 6 hours, replenishing water as necessary to maintain water level.
Lift pudding from water, place in large colander; cut string, carefully peel back cloth. Turn pudding onto a plate; carefully peel away cloth, cool. Stand 20 mins before serving.
TIP You’ll need a 60 cm (24 inch) square of unbleached calico for the pudding cloth. If the calico hasn’t been used before, start with an 80 cm (16 inch) square of calico, soak in cold water overnight. Next day, boil it for 20 mins, rinse in cold water and cut to a 60 cm (24 inch) square. To store pudding, we prefer to remove the cloth rather than hanging the pudding, as mould can form in our climate. After removing cloth, allow pudding to come to room temperature; wrap in plastic wrap and seal tightly in a freezer bag or airtight container, and refrigerate for up to two months.