Christmas Pudding with Custard Sauce

Some cooks age their Christmas pudding for up to a year. This recipe, an adaptation of one in The Constance Spry Cookery Book (J. M. Dent and Sons, 1956), is much quicker but yields equally good results.

Christmas Pudding with Custard Sauce
Some cooks age their Christmas pudding for up to a year. This recipe is much quicker but yields equally good results.
Yield: serves 12

For the Pudding

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 12 cups fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 cups dried currants
  • 1 34 cups seedless golden raisins
  • 1 34 cups seedless raisins
  • 1 12 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 13 lb. cold beef suet, membranes removed, grated
  • 23 cup stout, such as Guinness
  • 14 cup finely chopped candied lemon peel
  • 14 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
  • 14 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 tsp. ground allspice
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 granny smith apple, stemmed, cored, peeled, and coarsely grated
  • Juice and finely grated zest of a small orange

For the Custard

  • 4 cups milk
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 14 tbsp. flour
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 12 cup brandy, optional

Instructions

  1. For the pudding: Grease a 10-cup pudding basin or a heatproof ceramic bowl with butter; set aside. Put bread crumbs, currants, raisins, sugar, flour, suet, stout, peels, almonds, nutmeg, allspice, salt, eggs, apple, and orange juice and zest into a large bowl; mix well. Transfer mixture to basin; pat down to remove any air pockets. Cover basin with 2 layers of waxed paper and 2 layers of foil; tie tightly with twine.
  2. Put basin on a rack in a wide deep pot. Add enough water to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Cover; bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer; steam for 8 hours (replenish water as necessary). Carefully remove basin; let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove twine, foil, and paper. Run a knife around edge of pudding to loosen it; turn it out onto a serving platter.
  3. For the custard: Whisk together milk and sugar in a small pot; bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until frothy. While whisking constantly, gradually pour in hot milk mixture; whisk in flour and vanilla. Pour water into a medium pot to a depth of 2"; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place bowl of egg–milk mixture over simmering water; cook, stirring constantly, until it resembles a thin pudding, about 35 minutes. Strain custard through a fine sieve into a pitcher or bowl.
  4. To serve: Warm brandy in a pot; carefully light brandy with a match and pour over pudding. When flames die out, serve with custard (4 tbsp. per serving).