Now I realise that I’m some weeks (months even) late in posting this – but if I don’t do it now I never will and at least the recipe’ll be up here for next year!
The pudding is traditionally made on Advent Sunday – about 4 weeks before Christmas Day – and hung to dry or cure the flavours a bit… I find in the humid atmos of Sydney success lies in hanging it out in the garden under cover so that it doesn’t get mouldy as inside our house there’s not enough airflow. Granny’s words are that there should always be a few spots of mould on the outside – and after 47 years of making them she should know! And if you’re unduly worried (as you undoubtedly will be…) then douse it in brandy. And never mind the fruitflies!
Granny passed this recipe down to me in 2011, along with 8 threepences & 26 sixpences, and before Granny, my granddad’s mother Mumma made it. Granny thinks the recipe was Mumma’s grandmother’s…! Obv the recipe was in imperial measurements originally but I changed them as they were hurting my head.
You will need:
75cm unbleached calico square
A large stockpot
A wooden spoon
A clean table-top
Old silver coins, threepences & sixpences – not modern coins.
½ cup dark rum (I used brandy)
450g dried mixed fruit
225g chopped nuts & dates (why these are together I don’t know, I love dates and walnuts so used about equal of each I think last time)
225g seeded raisins
4 cups self raising flour
225g brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ cup milk
What to do:
Soak the sultanas overnight in the rum.
The next day boil up the calico while you prepare the pudding.
Boil up the money separately. Do not use modern coins!
Set water-filled stockpot to boil.
Rub the butter into the flour, add the brown sugar and the mixed spice. Mix in fruit.
Beat the 4 eggs well. Mix the bicarb soda into the milk and then add to the eggs.
Stir the egg mixture into the flour and fruit mixture and add the money. Combine well.
Drain the calico and put it wet onto the clean table. Flour well the centre of the cloth and put the mixture on top. Gather and tie up the cloth 2.5cm above pud with string.
Suspend the pudding so it’s not touching the base of pot. Boil for 3 hours (you will need to top up with boiling water from the kettle). Hang for 1 month (see above).
Boil for 2 hours on Xmas Day. Lift out onto a plate and cut off the string. Pull the calico carefully off the top side. Place another plate carefully on top and without squashing, invert the plates and pudding. Set it down again and pull off the remaining calico.
Serve: If you like you can turn off all the lights, dash 1/2 a cup of brandy over the top of the pudding and then carefully light it.
Then serve with vanilla custard, brandy custard, brandy sauce and ice cream or whatever your custom dictates…!