“This recipe is the Christmas pudding we serve at Le Manoir and is the result of 20 years’ development; each ingredient plays a part – I hope that you enjoy it!”
Difficulty rating: Easy
Serves (Yield): 2 (1ltr) or 1 (2ltr) puddings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours
Special equipment: Pudding basin(s)
The pudding can be prepared and steamed 4–6 months in advance stored in a cool place and steamed again to reheat.
For the pudding
- 250g raisins
- 250g currants
- 250g sultanas
- 250g breadcrumbs
- 250g Muscovado sugar
- 75g nibbed almonds
- 180g (1) Bramley apple, peeled, cored & finely diced
- 180g (1) orange, zest & juice
- 120g (1) lemon, zest & juice
- 220g (4) eggs, organic/free-range, medium, beaten
- 100g candied peel, chopped
- 50g flour plain
- 5g (1 tsp) Chinese five-spice powder
- 100ml Armagnac
- 250g suet
For the Armagnac butter
- 150g butter, unsalted
- 75g icing sugar
- 4-8 tbsp Armagnac
- Armagnac, to flame!
Preparing the pudding
- Prepare your basins by greasing them well, with extra butter, then lining the bottoms with greaseproof paper.
- In a large bowl, mix all of the pudding ingredients together thoroughly.
- Fill the pudding basins to 1cm below the rim.
- Now cover with a circle of greaseproof paper followed by a large piece of foil.
- Tie this around with a piece of string, but loosely so that there is room for the pudding to expand.
Cooking the pudding
- Steam the pudding for 5 hours, or the smaller ones for 31⁄2 to 4 hours. If you do not have a steamer, cook the puddings on a wire rack in a pan of boiling water.
- Make sure that the water boils constantly, and top it up occasionally.
- Once cooked, remove the basins from the steamer and leave to cool.
- Unwrap and pour 50ml of cognac to cover and rewrap in cling film. Store in a cool place until needed.
Making the Armagnac butter
- With an electric whisk, cream the butter until white.
- Beat in the sugar gradually.
- Add the Armagnac little by little.
- Beat it in thoroughly, and should the mixture show any sign of curdling, do not add all of the alcohol, as you can pour it over the top of the pudding when serving.
- The butter should be white and foamy.
- Refrigerate until needed.
Reheating and serving
- Reheat the large pudding by steaming it for about 2 hours, the smaller ones for about 1 hour.
- The longer you steam them, the darker they will become.
- Turn the puddings out onto a serving dish, and decorate with some holly.
- Heat and flame a ladleful of Armagnac, pour over the pudding and serve with the Armagnac butter separately.
Replace the suet with vegetable suet for vegetarians.