Grandma Pilley's Traditional Christmas Pudding

Ever thought about making your own Christmas Pudding?
calendar icon 20 December 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

This is an old family recipe handed down several generations from our very own Grandma Pilley. It has been used for our Christmas day fayre for as long as I can remember, only this year I had to make it myself, hence its addition to our recipe section.

This recipe looks rather onerous, but if you have the right equipment is really very quick and easy to make, although you do need to be around whilst it steams.

Ingredients (12 - 16 servings)

5 fl oz Stout (Guinness is good)
3 Eggs, beaten
4 oz Self Raising Flour
4 oz Bread Crumbs
4 oz Suet
4 oz Brown Sugar
6 oz Raisins
6 oz Sultanas
6 oz Currants
2 oz Mixed peel
3 oz Glazed cherries
1 tsp Mixed spice
Small apple grated
Small carrot grated
Juice and rind zest from half an orange
Juice and rind zest from half an lemon
Greased bowl (3 Imperial pint, 60 fl oz in size)
Greaseproof paper
Linen square (old cut up pillowcase or sheet)


1. In a large bowl, mix together all the 'dry' ingredients (excluding the eggs and stout).

2. Add the beaten eggs and stout and mix thoroughly to form an even mixture.

3. Pour the mixture into the 3 pint bowl and level.

4. Cover with the greaseproof paper. This is best secured with elastic bands.

5. Place the full bowl centrally on the linen square then tie the opposite corners together on top of the bowl. This will form a 'handle' to use to pick up the bowl.

6. Steam the pudding in a large pan for 10 hours (see cooks tips below).

7. Once steamed, allow to cool, remove the linen and the greaseproof paper and place in an airtight container until Christmas day.

8. On Christmas day, recover with new greaseproof paper and then the linen. Steam for a further 4 - 6 hours before serving.

Cook's Tips

Steaming: Find a large pan more than big enough to completely hold the 3 pint bowl. If possible place a steaming tray or some small crockery bowls at the bottom of the pan (face upwards) then fill the pan ¼ full with water. Drop in the pudding to check the water level is not too high. Bring the water to the boil, lower in the pudding, cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for the 10 hours.

REMEMBER to check the water level every so often to ensure the pan does not boil dry.

Linen square: I found an old pillowcase which was cut up for this purpose. The square needs to be big enough to tie across the top of the bowl. Ensure this is properly tied as this will be used to lift the bowl in and out of the pan.

Bowl: If you don't have a 3 pint bowl use two smaller bowls. Alternatively adjust the quantities according to the size of bowl and number of of people you have to feed.

Serving Suggestions

When you are ready to eat the pudding take it out of the pan/steamer, remove the linen and grease proof paper, turn out onto a serving dish and add a sprig of holy. If you like, just before delivering this masterpiece to the table, pour a small cup of brandy over the pudding and light. You can now present the flaming pudding to the eagerly awaiting clan. Just be careful not to burn yourself or anything else for that matter!

Serve with (either or all) custard, brandy custard and brandy butter.

Finally.... enjoy!

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