Cookery challenge October - Christmas Pudding

This month’s challenge: a recipe handed down through voice, hand written notes or inspired by your memories. The point of this month's challenge was to step away from the internet and remember the meals cooked by our elders, family and friends. If we could speak to the person who inspires this recipe then that is wonderful. If you can't, then honour them with your cooking.                                                                                                                                                          

If you had to instantly think of a recipe or dish handed down or vividly remembered what would it be ? My list was as follows:-

My Granny - Cornish cream teas
My step granny - Rock cakes, and jam puffs.
My Grandfather - Homemade blackberry jam
My mother -  Roasts with Huge Yorkshire puddings and home-made gravy.
My sister - Beef stroganoff, Roast lamb cooked with silvers of garlic and rosemary (she is 13 years older and it was the late 70's, I thought this was so cool and different to what I had at home.)
My mother in law - cakes and puddings

It occurred to me as I wrote this, that most of these were childhood favourites as my grandparents died while I was in my mid teens, I don't remember any of the main dishes they used to cook. So which of these did I choose?

I have decided to share with you my mother in law's (see picture above) recipe for Christmas Pudding. It differs from many of the shop bought ones as it includes breadcrumbs and is much lighter than any others I have come across, which is just what you need after a huge Christmas Roast.

Every year at this time of year she would make her Christmas Puddings. It was much earlier than stir up Sunday (the last Sunday before Advent), which is traditionally the day to make Christmas Puddings. The house would fill with steam as she boiled them for 7 hours. She always made a few, which she stored and would bring out to eat long after Christmas.

Glady's Christmas Puddings - Makes 1


4oz (100g) self raising flour
4oz (100g) white breadcrumbs
4oz (100g) shredded suet (Ii use the vegetarian one)
4oz (100g) currants
4oz (100g)raisins
4oz (100g)sultanas
2oz (50g) mixed peel
4oz (100g) demerara or soft light brown sugar
1 small apple grated
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon rind and juice
2 eggs
1/4 gill  (2 tablespoons) of brandy or sherry (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 gill (6 tablespoons of milk)

Lightly grease 2x600ml/1 pint or 2x1.2 litre/1 pint pudding basins.

Place all dry ingredients in large bowl, mix together  all  the liquid ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. 

Spoon into in the glass bowls cover with greaseproof paper and then foil, If doing it Glady's way put the basins in a large steamer of boiling water and cover with a  saucepan lid. Boil for 5-6 hours, topping the boiling water up from time to time, if necessary. If you do not have a steamer, put the basins in a large pan on inverted saucers on the base. Pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and steam as before. 

Or alternatively place bowl in a slow cooker add enough boiling water to come up 2/3rds up the side of the basin.Steam in a slow cooker on high for 12 hours.

 Allow to cool ,replace the greaseproof lid and  foil and wrap up and store in a cold place until Christmas Day. Occasionally you can feed with brandy. To reheat steam for a further 2 hours or 3 hours on high in the slow cooker.

Serve with  brandy butter, rum sauce,  cream or custard.

I'm now off  around the world to visit the other participants to see what interesting things they have made this month.

Sarah x


  1. My Mam's Shepherd's pie ... She made it on the day man landed on the moon, and renamed it spaceman's pie, after Alan Shepherd, one of the crew. Also, my Nana's jam tarts were very special!

    1. Hi Claire,
      I love the name of the pie and the reason behind it!
      Sarah x

  2. Oh that list made me a little teary. I'm so glad we're honouring these loved ones with our cooking. What a wonderful compilation of love, memories and sensory experiences wrapped up in your list. I think I will have to write mine all down too as a keepsake. Great inspiration, thank you!

  3. Such lovely memories and treasures for you. It's not something that happened in my family (that I know about anyway) but such a special thing! Suzy x

  4. Sarah my dear, this is quite enchanting for me because I love to cook and cooking the old recipes of our loved ones brings the memories back so swiftly. I have never had pudding of this sort, but it sure looks wonderful! Enjoy it all! Anita

  5. I'd love to be patient enough to make my own Christmas pudding.
    Here in Australia I tend to serve up fresh Summer fruits etc because it's kinda hot.
    My simple recipe passed down from my Nan would be rice pudding.
    It's so simple I make it all the time. Next I'm going to try her Lemon Cake recipe ;O)
    Tania xx

  6. When I handle recipes that my mother wrote it gives me a funny feeling, just seeing her writing on the page makes me wish that I could see her and talk to her again.
    I remember my mother's wonderful roast dinners, delicious trifle and lemon meringue pie. My mother-in-law was not a great cook but she could make a wonderful Christmas pudding. I was spoilt for many many years as she always made one for us.

  7. What a lovely idea. I do relate to the last comment - I have recipes in my mother's and my aunt's handwriting which I treasure. Just today I served mum's Melting Moments to the book group and Aunt Peggy's all-in-one sponge cake. I've also photocopieed these for my daughters' recipe books.

  8. Hi Sarah,

    You have shared such a lovely post and I enjoyed reading the list that is special to you.
    Don't you just love the old hand written recipe books and often you know the special ones, because they have a few marks on the pages.
    Mine would have to be my Mothers pavalova, with whipped cream and strawberries and her steamed ginger pudding.

    Hope you have a lovely week

  9. I wish I could go back in time to help Grandma cook those delicious meals. The first one that comes to mind she called Ham Potpie. It was made with homemade noodles, potatoes & ham. Not with a crust like chicken potpie. I think it is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. I cried when my sister was given all of Grandmas recipe books & I saw her handwriting on some of the pages.

  10. It is so sweet of you to recreate your mother in law's Christmas pudding. Love the handwritten recipe, gave me just goosebumps seeing it!

  11. What an amazing old cook book! There's always something about handwritten recipes that makes me certain they will turn out wonderfully. Surely cooking wisdom passed between family members is more reliable than the internet, right? :p

  12. I can only imagine how chewy and sweet this pudding is. The amount of time and effort to making one! I never knew that Christmas puddings were steamed! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  13. My Mum was a great cook, sadly I'm lacking the genes, even when I follow recipes I fail! I love Christmas pud! Ada :)

  14. That looks like a great well loved cookbook!

  15. I realised as I read your post that I don't have one single recipe passed down to me. My Mum is a terrible, and I mean really dreadful cook and I have no memories of any of my grandparents cooking or showing me how to cook anything at all. This may be why I hate cooking (I derive no pleasure from it at all - but I do like an occasional bake. Baking is different!) I also have no children so there's be nobody to pass my recipes down to even if I could cook!

    Your Christmas pudding does look really delicious though.

  16. My mother's roast leg of lamb.. with garlic and mint.. Fresh veggies of the season, gravy with roast potatoes.(mmm I am hungry now)! The most delicious trifle.. rum truffles with cream
    Most of my cooking that i do today, are my mother's recipies. I love cooking. Unfortunately family only come now and again.
    I love your christmas pudding recipe sarah.
    might attempt it.
    happy wednesday.

  17. Hello Sarah:
    This is such a lovely idea, to remember people through the food which they have prepared and shared with you. Eating food together is such a wonderfully comforting experience, especially in the company of those whom one cares for or loves.

    We cannot cook for toffee, but we love to eat. We are quite certain that we could happily enjoy your mother-in-law's Christmas Pudding but we should not have the faintest clue how to begin to construct it!!!

    A fond memory we have is of Tennis Pudding, made by one of our mothers, and always eaten in Summer. It contained, we think, evaporated milk, so very 1950s, but as to what else we are completely mystified!!!

  18. This post brought me bitter sweet memories of my Grandmother and wow how I wished I could go back in time and talk with her about her cooking. I love the old photos of your mother-in-law and the cook book. I feel very inspired. Hope the pudding was good.

  19. How wonderful a Christmas pudding with family history, I love the old photo and cookery book, alas I do not have my Mum's ( my brother has it) her specialty was Steak and kidney with a suet crust..bliss I can still smell it now
    Happy Halloween
    Thea x

  20. I am a newb when it comes to this sort of thing. I actually just recently read about a recipe like this in a book I am reading about a woman's life from 1900 to 1999. I was curious then, and curious once more (after reading your post) about what a Christmas Pudding is. I noticed that you store it in a cool place until Christmas, and in the book they said they make it months ahead of time. I have never done such a thing. Is that because it doesn't need refrigeration, or is that a part of the cooking process too?

    1. I think it's because it has a long cooking process with the steaming, and also there are not many ingredients in it that would not make it go off. Like fruit cake/wedding cake the flavour improves with time.
      Sarah x

  21. It is so wonderful to hear about families and the recipes they hand down to their families. What a beautiful photo of your Mother-in-law.
    Yes, me and my family are far away from the storm. It really hit some of the East cost hard.
    Right now in Southern California, we are having really beautiful weather. Thanks for your comment and have a lovely day.

  22. i dont like xmas pud! never lade it and dont think i ever will, Mr D loves it but is very fussy!!

  23. Good afternoon Sarah! Thank you for visiting! I hope you are enjoying the cool weather and new season of celebration. Many thanks and hugs to you and little Daisy! Anita

  24. Hi Sarah - your pudding looks delicious it is something that my mum didn't make but I do have her favourite Christmas Cake recipe handed down to me on a scrap of blue lined Basildon Bond writing paper complete with grease stains - quite an antique in itself! I also have my Domestic Science book from the 1st Year at Grammar School - I think the first recipe was Co-berg cakes and then Apple Crumble. We had to take 6d for the main ingredients and 2 Bramley Apples.

  25. I always say next year I will and then I go and forget all about it.

    I love your family list of great things to bake,

    Nina x


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