Christmas Pudding with Vanilla Bean Custard

Photographer: Emma
Serves 10-12

In August this year my boyfriends grandfather passed away.  He was a wonderful man who just 5 years ago had finished building his own octagonal house, the wood for which he milled himself, the pipes for which he ran.  One look around his home, perched high above a little-used train track, and you got a feel for how resourceful he was.  He had large chest freezers packed full with fruit and vegetables waiting to be pickled and preserved.  His garage was bursting at the seams, boxes overflowing with parts for the old Rambler he was lovingly restoring.  Whilst sorting through his belongings we even found a box containing more than 20 pairs of broken glasses, kept safe should he need to repair his own.  What appeal most to me was his shower caddy, fixed to the wall just outside the shower.  It was the door liner out of an F&P fridge which he had cut out and glued to the wall, complete with the dairy compartment and hinged lid where one could store the soap!  I now know where my boyfriend gets his inventiveness and ability to think outside of the box!

Just days before he passed he shared with us his recipe for steamed pudding.  I thought it would make  wonderful base for Christmas pudding so with the addition of a splash of rum and bit more butter this recipe was born.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Merry Christmas!


Christmas Pudding
1 cup currants
1 cup cranberries (I used bought, orange scented cranberries)
1/2 cup good quality rum
1 1/2 cups boiling water
100g butter
100g mixed peel
1 cup brown sugar
1 orange & 1 lemon, zested
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp each mixed spice, nutmeg, ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

300ml milk
300ml cream
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
50g sugar


Christmas Pudding
1. Place the currants and cranberries in a bowl, pour over the rum and mix well to coat all the fruit. Leave overnight.
2. Place the butter and baking soda in a large bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the baking soda.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
4. Place into a greased pudding basin with a lid and place in a large pot of boiling water. Cook, simmering gently, for 4-5 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

1. Place the milk and cream into a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in two lengthways and scrap out the beans, placing them, and the pod into saucepan with the milk and cream.
2. Gently heat this mixture until hot, remove from the heat.
3. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks whisking continuously as you go.
4. Return the mixture back to a low heat and cook, stirring continuously until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
5. Either use immediately or store in the fridge until needed.