Delia Smith, CBE
from Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course
The recent award of a CBE to Delia Smith reminded me it was time to make Christmas Pudding.
Delia writes -
This has proved to be one of the most popular recipes I've ever produced and if you're making it for the first time, I hope you'll agree. I actually prefer to eat our puddings around Christmas-time rather than keep them for the following year when they don't taste as good. Made in October or November they are perfect by Christmas (nevertheless still wonderful if you have to make them at the last minute!)
8 oz shredded suet (225 g)
4 oz self-raising flour (110 g)
8 oz white breadcrumbs (225 g), grated from a stale loaf
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 lb soft brown sugar (450 g)
8 oz sultanas (225 g)
8 oz raisins (225 g)
1 and 1/4 lb currants (575 g)
2 oz mixed peel (50 g) (finely chopped whole candied and citron peel if available)
2 oz almonds (50 g), blanched, skinned and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
4 tablespoons rum
5 fl oz barley wine (150 ml) (For bewildered Americans like myself, barley wine is a style of strong ale, originating in England in the 19th century - Bass No. 1 Ale is barley wine. Ed.)
5 fl oz stout (150 ml)
Put the suet, flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar in a bowl, mixing in each ingredient thoroughly before adding the next. Then gradually mix in all the fruit, peel and nuts and follow these with the apple and the orange and lemon rind.
In a different bowl beat up the eggs, and mix the rum, barley wine and stout into them. Empty all this over the dry ingredients - and then stir very hard indeed (it's vital this mixing so recruit some help if necessary). You may find you need a bit more stout - it's not possible to be exact with the liquid quantities, but the mixture should be of a good dropping consistency (that is, it should fall from the spoon when tapped sharply against the side of the bowl).
After the mixing, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it overnight. The next day, grease two (or four) pudding basins and pack the mixture into them right to the top. Cover each basin with a square of greaseproof paper, with a square pudding cloth on top. Tie these round the rims of the bowls with string, then tie the corners of the cloth together on top.
Steam the puddings for 8 hours - keeping an eye on the water now and then to make sure it doesn't boil away. When cooked and cooled, remove the paper and cloths and replace with a fresh lot. Store in a cool dry place and, when ready to eat, steam for 2 hours.
Delia called her CBE "a tribute to home cooks all over Britain". Another reason to like her.