Christmas does not happen in our house without Christmas Pudding. When my grandmother moved into a home and I inherited the pudding bowls I knew that this came with an unspoken invitation to take up the tradition of cooking the pudding. After several phone conversation with my Nanna, Mum and many You Tube clips later, I have come to the conclusion that its not that mysterious you just need to know a few of these tips:
Tip Number 1:
If you are doing this for the first time, buy enough unbleached calico to easily cover your pud and allow for tying. I tested this with a big ball of wool in my pudding bowl before cutting the fabric. You then need to boil the fabric to both steralize and soften it. I did this in separate water to that which I would later boil the pud in (if you are re-using the fabric the following year you can use the same water!)
Soak your fruit overnight in orange juice and brandy. Warm it up until all the fruit softens, mixing frequently and then let it cool over night in the pot.
Tip number 3: Once your mixture is ready you will need to have the fabric prepared. To do this, after boiling in water, wearing rubber gloves, squeeze out the water and place it on a clean bench. Rub a generous amount of flour in the fabric (I kept the gloves on to do this which seemed to help) … then with the flour side up, place the fabric in your pudding bowl. Leave the corners and edges free of flour. This provides a seal and prevents water getting in and your pudding getting soggy. I found a fair bit of butter in the water after boiling the puddings, but apparently this is normal (so says mum).
When hanging to dry, separate the corners to assist them in completely drying out (otherwise risk mould). To prevent the string from snapping, double it up before tying. The best time to cook your puds is the last weekend of November!
As they say, the proof will be in the pudding, fingers crossed for Christmas day!