It has always been the tradition in our house to eat the first plum pudding on the evening it is made. The grandchildren can hardly contain themselves with excitement - somehow that plum pudding seems the most delicious, it's our first taste of Christmas.

Ingredients

It has always been the tradition in our house to eat the first plum pudding on the evening it is made. The grandchildren can hardly contain themselves with excitement - somehow that plum pudding seems the most delicious, it’s our first taste of Christmas. The plum pudding can be made from about mid-November onwards. Everyone in the family helps to stir so we can all make a wish.

It’s fun to put silver plum pudding charms in the pudding destined to be eaten on Christmas Day.  Wrap them individually in silicone paper so they are bulky and clearly visible.

This recipe makes 2 large or 3 medium puddings. The large size will serve 10-12 people, the medium 6-8 but I also like to make teeny weeny ones.

  • 350g (12oz) raisins
  • 350g (12oz) sultanas
  • 350g (12oz) currants
  • 300g (10oz) brown sugar *
  • 350g (12oz) white breadcrumbs (non GM)
  • 350g (12oz) finely-chopped beef suet
  • 110g (4oz) diced candied peel (preferably home-made)
  • 2 Bramley cooking apples, coarsely grated
  • 110g (4oz) chopped almonds
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 pounded cloves (1/2 teaspoon)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 62ml (2 1/2fl oz) Jamaica Rum

Mrs. Hanrahan’s Sauce

  • 110g (4oz) butter
  • 200g (7oz) Barbados sugar (moist, soft, dark-brown sugar)
  • 1 egg, preferably free-rang and organic
  • 62ml (2 1/2fl oz) medium sherry
  • 62ml (2 1/2fl oz) port
  • 1.3 – 1.4 litres (2 1/4-2 1/2 pints) lightly whipped cream

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together very thoroughly and leave overnight; don't forget, everyone in the family must stir and make a wish!  Next day stir again for good measure.  Fill into pudding bowls; cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper which has been pleated in the centre, and tie it tightly under the rim with cotton twine, making a twine handle also for ease of lifting.
  2. Steam in a covered saucepan of boiling water for 6 hours.  The water should come half way up the side of the bowl.  Check every hour or so and top up with boiling water if necessary.  After 5 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours depending on the size, remove the pudding. Allow to get cold and re-cover with fresh greaseproof paper.  Store in a cool dry place until required.
  3. On Christmas Day or whenever you wish to serve the plum pudding, steam for a further 2 hours.  Turn the plum pudding out of the bowl onto a very hot serving plate, pour over some whiskey or brandy and ignite.  Serve immediately on very hot plates with Brandy Butter.
  4. You might like to decorate the plum pudding with a sprig of holly but take care not to set the holly on fire - as well as the pudding!

Mrs. Hanrahan’s Sauce

This recipe is so delicious that people ask to have more Plum Pudding just so that they can have an excuse to eat lots of sauce.  This makes a large quantity but the base will keep for several weeks in the fridge, so you can use a little at a time, adding whipped cream to taste.

  1. Melt the butter, stir in the sugar and allow to cool slightly.  Whisk the egg and add to the butter and sugar with the sherry and port.  Refrigerate.
  2. When needed, add the lightly whipped cream to taste.
  3. This sauce is also very good with mince pies and other tarts.

A Simply Delicious Christmas with Darina Allen and Rory O'Connell is on RTÉ Player now. Recipe taken from ‘A Simply Delicious Christmas’ published by Gill Books.