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Mum's Christmas Pud

PREP 15mins
COOK 6hrs


3/4 cup (120g) raisins
3/4 cup (120g) sultanas
100g glace cherries
60g currants
1/3 cup (55g) chopped mixed peel
finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
finely grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
1/2 cup (125ml) stout
1/2 cup (125ml) brandy
1 cup (125g) almond meal
120g suet mix (from supermarkets)
1 2/3 cups (120g) fresh white breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (110g) firmly packed brown sugar
80g plain flour
3/4 cup (120g) blanched almonds
1/2 cup (60g) chopped hazelnuts
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp butter Brandy Custard, to serve

 Tip: You can make this pudding up to four months ahead. Cool completely, cover with foil and store in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, steam for one hour. • This pud is also good with brandy butter. Using an electric mixer, beat 125g softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup pure icing sugar and 1 tbsp brandy, until light and fluffy.

  Combine raisins, sultanas, cherries, currants, peel, and lemon and orange rind and juice in a bowl. Pour over stout and brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hrs.

2 Add dry ingredients, nuts, spices, milk and egg to dried fruit mixture. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days.

3 Melt butter and use to grease a 2L pudding basin. Line base with baking paper. Spoon mixture into prepared basin. Make a pleat in centre of a sheet of baking paper and a sheet of foil. Cover basin with paper, then foil and secure with kitchen string.

Place a trivet or upturned heatproof plate in base of a large saucepan. Place pudding basin on trivet. Pour enough boiling water into pan to come halfway up side of basin. Cover and steam on low heat, topping up water as needed, for 6-8 hrs, until pudding is firm and dark brown.

Remove from pan and stand for 5 mins. Turn out onto a plate and serve with brandy custard.


Gary’s secrets 
 •  For a darker pudding, add 60g treacle to the dried fruit mixture with the stout and brandy. If reheating before serving, steam for 2 hours instead of just one.

 •  Christmas pudding is always better when it’s made well in advance, as the flavours of the fruit, spice and alcohol come together and take it to another level. At my restaurant, Fenix, we make our puds at least six months ahead.


Poached Peaches with Spiced Fruits & Nuts

PREP 10mins
COOK 15mins


2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp mixed peel
4 ripe yellow or white peaches
25g butter
2 star anise
2 cloves
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
2 dried apricots, chopped
2 tbsp blanched almonds
1 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup (120g) honey
1/4 cup (60ml) brandy
almond ice-cream, to serve (optional)

 Place raisins and mixed peel in a medium heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Stand for 3 mins, until softened. Drain fruit and dry thoroughly on paper towel.

2 Meanwhile, cut peaches in half and twist to separate. Remove stones. Heat butter in a wide non-stick frying pan on medium.

3 Place peaches, cut side down, in pan and cook for 3-4 mins, until golden. Turn peaches and add star anise, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla seeds and bean. Cook for 1 min, until fragrant.

4 Add soaked raisin and mixed peel mixture, and chopped apricots to pan. Cook, basting peaches several times with syrup to release sweetness from fruit, for 5 mins, until peaches soften slightly.

5 Add nuts, brown sugar and honey and stir to dissolve. Pour in brandy. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, constantly basting peaches with chunky fruit syrup. 

6 Cook for 4 mins, until peaches are very tender. Spoon peaches and syrup into bowls and serve hot with ice-cream alongside, if you like.


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