over 2 hours
By Matt Tebbutt
For the Christmas pudding
- 250g/9oz sultanas
- 75g/2¾oz raisins
- 75g/2¾oz currants
- 75g/2¾oz candied citrus peel, chopped
- 1 Bramley apple, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 250ml/9fl oz Irish stout
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- butter, to grease
- 75g/2¾oz vegetarian suet
- 100g/3½oz dark muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 60g/2¼oz plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- 50g/1¾oz fresh white breadcrumbs
For the Douglas fir sauce
- 550ml/1 pint full-fat milk
- 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 50g/1¾oz Douglas fir pine (use the lighter green tips, foraged and washed)
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
- 50g/1¾oz plain flour, sieved
To make the Christmas pudding, put the dried fruit, peel, apple, rum, stout, orange zest and juice into a large non-metallic mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight at room temperature.
Lightly grease a 1 litre/1¾ pint pudding basin with the butter and line the base with a disc of baking paper. Put a 35cm/14in square of kitchen foil on top of a 35cm/14in square of baking paper. Fold a 4cm/1½in pleat across the centre of both squares together and set aside.
Add all of the remaining pudding ingredients to the soaked fruit, stirring well. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin, pushing down well. Level the surface. Put the pleated foil and paper square, foil-side up, on top of the basin and smooth down to cover. Tie a long piece of string securely under the lip of the basin, then loop it over again and tie to make a handle.
To cook, put a heatproof saucer in the base of a large, deep saucepan. Lower in the pudding and pour in enough water to come halfway up sides of basin, trying not to get any water on the top of the pudding. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and bring the water to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 4½ hours, topping up the water as necessary. Remove the pudding from the pan and leave to cool completely.
Wrap the entire basin, still with its foil lid, tightly in cling film and then another layer of foil. This pudding can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.
To make the Douglas fir sauce, put the milk, sugar, rum and Douglas fir in a saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Take off the heat and cover with cling film. After 6 minutes, taste the milk and leave to infuse until you have your desired flavour (the longer you leave it, the stronger the taste of Douglas fir). Remember to cover over with cling film each time you taste. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside (it’s best to do this whilst it is still warm).
In a separate saucepan, melt the butter until foaming and then gradually stir in the flour. Keep stirring and cook for 2–3 minutes until a smooth roux is formed. Slowly add the infused milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring continuously so that no lumps form and a smooth sauce is created.
Serve slices of the Christmas pudding with the sauce.