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Irish Pudding

How to Make an Irish Christmas Pudding

No matter what, you can guarantee that Christmas in Ireland will include a hearty supply of the finest food and drink available.

From Bailey’s to roast dinners, tables will be set for family and friends to enjoy and many of them will include a traditional Irish Christmas Pudding.

It might look a little strange to those seeing it for the first time, but if you’d like to make your own this year, read on…  

What is an Irish Christmas Pudding?

Irish Christmas Pudding is simply our own take on a classic English Christmas Pudding, also known as Plum Pudding or Figgy Pudding.

The original dish is said to originate from way back in the 14th century however it didn’t arrive on Ireland’s shores until the Victorian era.

Irish Christmas Pudding is a traditional fruit/rum cake with a mixture of fruits, spices, brandy, Irish whiskey and even coins…depending on who you’re asking! It looks dark and almost chocolately but to the taste, it’s rich, intense and aromatic.

The cake, and it’s baking, is filled with history and superstition. First, it is said to be called “Plum Pudding” due to the raisins used which, during medieval times, would’ve been a poorer substitute.

Next, it is tradition that the cake be mixed and prepared on the last Sunday of November before the beginning of Advent. During this process everyone in the household is supposed to stir the mixture for good luck, 13 ingredients are to be used (to represent Christ and his Disciples) and coins are to be added as a tradition to give the finders health, wealth, happiness and wishes!

Now, if you’d like to give it a go you can follow the ingredients and instructions below. However, feel free to add your own twist to this Christmas classic because that’s what everyone else does…

Ps. If you’re going to add coins for fun… TELL YOUR GUESTS! You don’t want a Christmas crack on someone’s tooth!

Irish Christmas Pudding Recipe

Simply follow the list of ingredients and instructions below:

Ingredients 

  • 250 g light brown sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 g dried currants
  • 250 g olden raisins
  • 250 g dark raisins
  • 125 g candied cherries
  • 125 g candied orane peel
  • 350 ml Guinness
  • 250 g fluffy white bread crumbs
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • ground cloves
  • ground ginger
  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
  • 125 g sliced almonds
  • Brandy for sauce/decoration
  • Fresh cream/ice cream

Instructions

1. Put the sugar, the orange and lemon zest, and all the dried fruit, candied cherries, and candied peel in a large bowl and pour the bottle of Guinness over everything, stirring to combine. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave it to sit overnight at room temperature.

2. The next day, in another large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and flour with all the spices. Add the butter and either cut it in with a pastry cutter, or do as traditional Irish cooks do and rub it in with your fingers.

3. Stir the eggs, grated apple, and almonds into the fruit and Guinness, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine everything. 

4. Grease a large bowl (or heatproof bowl) with butter. Pour in the pudding mixture and cover the top with baking paper and foil, making a pleat in the middle for expansion and pressing it down tightly around the rim. Tie a couple of rounds of kitchen string under the rim and fashion a handle by tying a couple more pieces of string across the top, leaving enough slack that you can use it to pick up the bowl if necessary.

5. Put the heatproof bowl in the bottom of a large stockpot and pour in water to come a little more than halfway up the sides of the bowl. Put it on the stove, bring the water to a boil over medium heat, and simmer gently for three hours, topping up the water from time to time.

6. After three hours, you can either lift out the pudding with your improvised handle or let the pudding cool in the water and then lift it out. 

7. Take off the wrapping and, if you like, poke a few holes in the top with a skewer and drizzle a few tablespoons of brandy over the pudding. Cover it up with fresh baking paper and foil and refrigerate until Christmas Day.

Bonus. If you’re soaking your pudding with brandy, drizzle on a little more every week. You can store your pudding for a good month or more before Christmas. 

Serving

When you’re ready to serve, reboil the pudding as above for one hour, to heat it through. Turn the pudding out, rounded side up, onto a serving platter. Heat a little brandy briefly in a small saucepan (cold brandy won’t light), then set it alight with a match, pour the burning liquid over the pudding, and carry it, flaming, to the table. Once the brandy has burned up, slice up the warm pudding and top each piece with a dollop of cold fresh cream.

Enjoy!

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