Sloe gin plum Christmas pudding
Prep time: 35 mins
Recipe photograph by Maja Smend
Sloe gin and prunes give this year's Christmas pudding a distinctly British update!
Prep time: 35 mins
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Nutritional information (per serving)
Day 1 - soak the fruit
- 200g mixed dried fruit
- 100g ready-to-eat pitted prunes, chopped
- 75g glacé cherries, quartered
- zest and juice of 1 large orange
- 4 tbsp sloe gin
- 1 tbsp Cointreau(or brandy, port or sherry)
- 75g dark muscovado or brown sugar
- 1½ tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- a generous grating of fresh nutmeg
Day 2 or 3 – make and steam the pudding
- soft butter, to grease
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Bramley apple, cored and coarsely grated
- 75g vegetarian suet
- 50g almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 85g self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 40g fresh breadcrumbs
Step by step
Soak the fruit up to 2 days ahead. Make the pudding and put it on to steam first thing in the morning to allow for the long cooking time. Cook up to 3 months ahead and store in a cool, dry place.
- Up to 2 days ahead, put all the dried fruit and glacé cherries into a large non-metallic bowl.Add the orange zest and juice, sloe gin, Cointreau, sugar and spices. Mix well to combine, cover and set aside overnight or up to a couple of days ahead.
- When ready to cook, grease a 1-1.2 litre ceramic pudding basin (or Pyrex bowl) with a little butter and line the base with a disc of baking paper. Layer up a 30cm square each of foil and of baking paper. Grease the paper well with butter, then,keeping both together, fold a 2-3cm pleat in the middle to allow for expansion. Place a trivet inside a lidded pan that’s large enough to hold the basin; you can use an upturned old saucer or some jam jar lids or even a clean folded dishcloth.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the soakedfruit and mix thoroughly to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared basin and level – there should be a 2cm gap at the top to allow for rising.
Cover the pudding with the foil and baking paper, buttered-side down. Secure tightly around therim with a piece of kitchen string and fold up any excess paper and foil. Take a long strip of foil and fold it to about 12cm wide, sit the basin in the centre and use the strip to lower the pudding carefully into the pan. Fold the foil ‘handles’over the sides of the pan and pour boiling water around the pudding until it comes halfway up the sides of the basin, but so it doesn’t touch the foil covering. Place the lid on top; it needs to be fully closed to keep the steam inside.Kitchen tipA longer first steam allows the sugars to caramelise well, giving a richer flavour, so steam for 6 hours if you prefer a darker colour.
- Simmer gently for 4-6 hours (see Kitchen tip, above), checking the water level every couple of hours to ensure it doesn’t dry out – top up if needed with boiling water. Then remove from the pan using the foil handles to lift the pudding out and leave it to cool completely. Once cool, remove the paper and foil and replace with a new set of wrappings, as before, ready for when you want to re-steam and serve. Store in a cool, dry place.
- On the day of serving, steam as before, but this time for 1½-2 hrs or until piping hot through.