With a rich texture and dark colour, this slow cooked Christmas pudding is inspired by the Caribbean tradition of macerating dried fruits in rum overnight.
Once the soaked fruit is deliciously plump, it’s partly pureed and stirred with molasses sugar, and delicate spices. Like Mary Berry’s classic Christmas pudding, this one takes a little time and patience. But steaming the pudding for six hours will give the pud an impeccable texture. The addition of stem ginger, Agostina bitters, and ginger wine gives a sophisticated depth of flavour. Steaming is a very gentle method of cooking, so you don’t need to worry about overdoing it.
- 500g pack luxury vine fruits (mixed dried fruits)
- 300ml (½ pint) dark rum
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 tsp Angostura bitters
- 4 tbsp ginger wine
- 60g (2oz) stem ginger, drained from syrup and chopped
- 90g (3oz) molasses sugar
- 30g (1oz) self-raising flour, sieved
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 125g (4oz) vegetable suet
- 30g (1oz) flaked almonds
- 90g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- To serve:
- 4 pieces of stem ginger, halved
- 8 cocktail cherries
- 8 flaked almonds
- 1 sprig of holly
- 3 tablespoons ginger syrup, from the jar of stem ginger
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basin, greaseproof paper, string and foil
Put the dried fruits into a pan and pour in the rum. Add the orange zest and juice and Angostura bitters. Cover and cook over a medium heat for five minutes, just until the rum and fruits are warm. Add the ginger wine and stir in the stem ginger. Pour the dried fruits and liquid into an airtight container and leave overnight to macerate. The following day, pour half of the dried fruit and liquid into a food processor and blend until it is smooth.
Crumble the molasses sugar into a large bowl, breaking up any lumps or chunks with your fingertips. Sieve in the flour and mixed spice. Then stir in the suet and almonds.
Add the blended fruits along with the whole fruits and liquid. Stir in the breadcrumbs and grated carrot, then lastly the eggs. Mix everything together well. Spoon the pudding mixture into the basin. Cover with a double sheet of pleated greaseproof paper and secure with string.
Cook in a steamer for 6 hours, checking the pan and topping up with boiling water every 30 minutes or as it needs it.
To store: cover tightly with fresh greaseproof paper. Keep in a cool dark place for up to 3 months. To serve: reheat by steaming for an hour. Upturn pudding onto a serving dish. Remove lining paper on base, top with ginger, cherries and the holly sprig. Drizzle with ginger syrup.
Top tips for making this slow cooked Christmas pudding
To flame the pudding: Warm 2 tablespoons of rum in a ladle over a gas flame or microwave it on High for 20 seconds. Pour the warm rum over the pudding and light with a match, stand well back. Short on rum? Use whiskey or brandy instead.