One of the highlights of a fun-filled, family-friendly, gut-busting Christmas is the Christmas pudding! I can almost see you nodding your approval! What’s Christmas without the pudding? And I’m not talking about some of these modern treats (although some are awesome too). I am talking about a traditional Christmas pudding/cake. Well, it depends on where in the world you’re from. In Jamaica, they talk about the Christmas cake but now here in England, it’s about Christmas pudding. See below for what you need to make it.
Oh just thinking about it now is making my mouth water! Make no bones about it, buying a Christmas pudding is often quite expensive, and since you are here reading this I know you don’t want to spend too much on anything, not even a Christmas pudding. So here goes, some frugal ways to prepare the Christmas pudding.
We can avoid some of the expense with careful planning. For one, try to prepare or buy your fruits months ahead of time. Around Christmas time there is a hike in the price of raisins, prunes, and mixed fruits. The supermarket giants know there will be a surge in demand for these products so since their main aim is to make as much profit as possible, they hike the prices. Do not be caught every year. Buy them in advance, store them securely and safely and use them at Christmas time at a fraction of the cost.
Make your own mixed peel and Cranberry Sauce
If you do use a lot of citrus fruits at home, you can save the peel and make your own mixed peel throughout the year to use as part of your pudding. By following these easy steps, you can make your own and even have enough to share with friends, family and neighbours. It’s quite easy.
Step 1: Peel the citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit etc). Get out of much of the white part as possible as it tends to be a bit bitter. Cut each piece of the peel the size of a penny. you can use the fruit bits to make a refreshing drink.
Step 2: In a pan, add enough water to just cover the peels. Boil for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Drain all the water and boil a second time again for about 10 minutes or until liquid is significantly reduced.
Step 4: When the water is significantly reduced, add a cup of caster sugar, simmer on low heat. This might take about half an hour for the peel to absorb all the liquid. The mixed peel is ready to use after being left to cool.
Step 5: Store your mixed peel in a jar. They should last well if stored in the fridge. Personally, I store mine in glass jars in port. That way they last forever and I don’t take up space in my fridge.
So you’ve prepared your own mixed peel, you have bought your fruits throughout mid-year when they are not too expensive. The next step is to get a good port. The best and most commonly used is Red Label Wine. I must admit that getting it online is not very cost-effective. It is sold in most big supermarkets and off licences dor half the price online. Store the fruits in port in airtight glass jars that are lying all around.
One other frugal way which I have always done is to use 1/4 less the required amount of sugar. You have this on tried and tested authority. In the end, it costs less and we don’t need so much sugar anyway as the dried fruits are sweet enough. Christmas is a time of great indulgence generally but you can save your waistline and delay the onset of eating-related disorders by reducing sugar intake at this time. The mixed peels and fruits will contain sugar anyway.
Spread the love
Don’t keep it to yourself. It’s a tradition in our family to give Christmas pudding to family and friends. We like to give a whole cake instead of a slice of cake but giving a whole cake can work out to be quite expensive.
So we have worked out what to do. Make smaller or even mini ones. We use tin foil to mould around the base and sides of large cans (We like those canned pineapples and so we buy the large cans) and then wrap with newsreel or newspaper. This is then taped with every day cellophane tape. This way, we can mould various containers from the same can. Remove the can. The paper-wrapped foil containers are then placed on a tray before spooning the cake mixture in.
To present the cakes, we remove them from the foil paper and place on a lovely shiny base made of a square or round of cardboard wrapped in tin foil.
The whole thing is then wrapped with some plain or coloured cellophane and tied with ribbon. We use used Christmas cards to cut squares to be used as gift tags after a hole is punched in one corner. People appreciate these beautifully decorated and wrapped Christmas puddings more I think than they do a slice of cake. And each one is just big enough for about 6 people to get a decent slice.
How to make the cake
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl
- mix in the browning, vanilla, rosewater and almond flavouring
- in a separate bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon powder and salt
- In another bowl crack the 12 eggs and whisk them
- Blend the soaked dried fruits
- Now take turns adding a bit of the flour mixture, then a bit of the egg mixture and a bit of the dried fruit mixture. Fold in well after each addition
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius and grease and line the baking tins
- Place the cake mixture in the baking tins and leave enough space for a little rise.
- Place the cakes in the oven to bake. Check after about 1 hour. The larger the cake, the longer it will take to bake. You can tell when it is done when they begin to just leave the sides of the tin and when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, pour over a tablespoon or two of the Red Label Wine.
- Remove from the tins once cooled and store in an airtight container. You can continue to feed them with wine until the big day
So there, my foolproof tips for preparing Christmas pudding. If all else fails and you find it difficult to find an authentic recipe click here and I will send you an amazing tried, tested and proven recipe for a classic Jamaican Christmas cake. You can also click HERE to read my post which gives tips on how we lovely frugal people prepare for Christmas. You can also read this post on why Christmas is my favourite time of the year and why we start our preparations in July!
Here, we make some cakes and show you how to prepare one as a gift:
Have the most amazing Christmas.
Jo and Leisa