Cakes

My Mum’s Christmas Pudding

4.8 from 5 votes
My Mum's Christmas Pudding recipe is as good as it gets, and is one holiday dessert that I look forward to each and every year.
My Mum's Christmas Pudding recipe.

Hi Bold Bakers!

What To Expect From This Recipe: Honestly, my mum’s Christmas Pudding is the BEST. Her decades of experience making this for us each year is more than enough authority on the subject. It’s dark, boozy, loaded with fruit, and really soft — but the best part is that it’s easy. In Ireland, a “pudding” is a cake that’s steamed instead of baked, and you can make this one months in advance. You’re going to love it!

I know you will because I love it so much and I only get to eat it once a year. Can you believe that I only now thought to ask her for the recipe?

What Is A Christmas Pudding?

A close up of my mum's classic Christmas pudding, to show texture.

It’s essentially a really soft, moist, amazing fruit cake that’s similar to a traditional Christmas Cake. You can make it in October and store it for months, too, adding to the flavor and texture. My biggest fear was that regardless of following my mum’s recipe that it just wouldn’t turn out like how my mum makes hers, but it was PERFECTION! It’s bite-for-bite everything I love about my mum’s pudding.

So where did she learn to make it over the years?

I asked her where the recipe came from and she thinks it might have been originally a ‘Stork‘ recipe, which is a brand of Irish Margarine. They bring out booklets of recipes around Christmas so, it’s likely that is where it originally came from, but knowing my mum she has probably adapted it over the years.

Being far away from home during the holidays is hard so it is so comforting to be able to have a little taste of home with me in Los Angeles.

Let’s Talk Alcohol

Yes, this recipe uses alcohol. It’s the classic, traditional way to make a Christmas pudding. Luckily, as long as it’s dark booze, you can choose between whiskey, rum, or brandy, and you’ll still get amazing results no matter which you fancy.

About The Fruit

You can follow my mum’s traditional mix of fruit down below in the written recipe, but if you don’t have all of it, or have your own preferences, you can swap any of it out. Use what you love or is accessible — this is a very flexible recipe, so don’t be concerned.

Steaming Cakes vs. Baking Cakes

I’ll let you in on a little secret: baking uses dry heat and can lead to cakes that are less than ideally moist. Steaming a cake, or a pudding as we say, is easy and makes for a seriously moist cake that might just blow your mind. If you want all of my best tips for it, check out my article on How To Steam A Christmas Pudding for an in-depth look at the process.

What You Need To Make A Christmas Pudding

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1.5-liter pudding basin or 3-pint pudding bowl
  • Cling wrap
  • Large saucepan

How To Steam A Christmas Pudding

Less baking, more steaming. Honestly, it’s simple! You can check out my full How To Steam A Christmas Pudding for an in-depth guide, but just know that it’s a low-and-slow process — this cake steams for 2.5 hours. Get the full recipe down below, and remember, if you run into trouble, leave us a comment! We respond to them all.

Gemma’s Quick Tips For Making Christmas Puddings

A slice of Christmas pudding served with brandy butter.

  • The liquor you need to use is a dark one but you can choose between whiskey, rum, or brandy for your pudding.
  • If you don’t have all the dried fruit accessible then you can do one pound of any mixed dried fruit. 
  • Although not traditional, dried cranberries would make a lovely addition to the pudding in place of some of the dried fruit.
  • Make your puddings as early as October giving them time to develop more flavor and nicer, moist texture.
  • For this dessert you need fresh breadcrumbs, you can easily make your own by following my recipe.
  • Serve with whipped cream or Homemade Brandy Butter.

In The Christmas Spirit Yet?

Check out my other traditional Irish Christmas recipes like How to Make Traditional Mincemeat, Aunty Rosaleen’s Christmas Cake, and Homemade Mince Pies!

Make More Pudding Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

My Mum's Christmas Pudding Recipe

4.8 from 5 votes
My Mum's Christmas Pudding recipe is as good as it gets, and is one holiday dessert that I look forward to each and every year.
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Soak fruit overnight for 12 hrs
My Mum's Christmas Pudding recipe is as good as it gets, and is one holiday dessert that I look forward to each and every year.
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

The Night Before

  • 1 ¼ cups (6oz/170g) raisins
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) sultanas
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) currants
  • ¼ cup (1oz/28g) prunes, chopped
  • 1 small lemon, rind and juice
  • ¾ Cup/5oz/142mls Cider (European style) (or Guinness, cider makes a lighter pudding)
  • 1 tablespoon (½floz/15ml) dark rum (brandy or whiskey)

The Next Day

  • 1 stick (4oz/115g) butter, softened
  • cup (4oz/115g) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (4oz/115g) all purpose-flour
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups (4oz/115g) fresh bread crumbs
  • cup (2oz/58g) ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons (¾oz/21g) dark chocolate, grated
  • ½ teaspoon coffee essence, optional
  • 1 medium Granny Smith cooking, peeled and grated Bramley apple in UK and Ireland

Instructions

The Night Before:

  • In a large bowl, soak all the dried fruit overnight with the lemon rind and juice, cider and rum. Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 12 hours. The cider here is the European style alcoholic style cider, though the American style cider could also be used.

The Next Day:

  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • In a seperate bowl, add the flour, spices, baking soda and salt and whisk together to combine.
  • Add dry ingredients into the butter mixture and fold together.
  • Add the eggs, beating in one at a time.
  • Next, stir in the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, grated chocolate and coffee essence (if using).
  • Lastly stir in the grated apple and the soaked fruit mixture. Now cover and set aside to stand for 2 hours on the counter top, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour pudding mix into a 1.5 litre/3 pint pudding bowl, cover well and gently steam for roughly 2 ½ hours. (See How to steam a Christmas Pudding for more details).
  • Once the pudding is firm to the touch on top it is done. Remove from the pot and allow to cool down completely in the basin.
  • Replace the parchment and foil with new pieces before storing the pudding away in a cupboard for as long as 2 months or until Christmas time. It can also be frozen.
  • To serve the pudding on Christmas day, steam again for 1 hour and serve hot. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Beverly
Beverly
21 days ago

Sorry,another question, do you shred and keep the rind in, or take it out after it sits for 12 hrs?

Caroline
Caroline
26 days ago

You mention cider in the instructions but not in the ingredients. How much cider? Thank you

Kathy Matusheski
Kathy Matusheski
27 days ago

Cider?

Philippa Ellis
Philippa Ellis
27 days ago

What is mixed spice?

Kristin Anderson
Kristin Anderson
27 days ago

Do you have to store it in the pudding basin until you steam it at Christmas? I want to make a few steamed puddings so do I need a few pudding basins? Thanks Gemma!

Mary Bray
Mary Bray
27 days ago

Make 2, 1 as a taster and one for Christmas.

Helene
Helene
28 days ago

What is mixed spice? Coffee essence?

Julia
Julia
28 days ago

Hi Gemma, The instructions say to mix the fruit with the cider and alcohol, there is no cider in the ingredient list, did you miss it off?

Lucy
Lucy
28 days ago

How much cider?

RHONDA
RHONDA
28 days ago

In your ingredients list you mention coffee essence, is that like coffee extract? Also, what is Spirit?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!