The Borough Kitchen Christmas Pudding

Stir-up Sunday is almost here. That means it's time to make our tried-and-true Christmas Pudding, courtesy of our friend Fran Warde. It has garnered a bit of fame for converting many Christmas pudding sceptics – and not just because of the captivating display of setting it on fire. You will need a pudding basin that can hold up to being simmered in a pot of water; we like this classic Porcelain Pudding Bowl for the task, as it has a myriad of uses well beyond Christmas. (This recipe uses the 20cm / 1.2 litre size.) This recipe is endlessly adaptable. Feel free to use whatever combination of mixed dried fruit and nuts that you like. You could also use vegetarian suet, or swap the flour and breadcrumbs for gluten-free alternatives.

Serves 6-8


400g mixed dried fruit (such as sultanas, raisins, apricots, cherries, cranberries)
75g dried dates, chopped
75g dried figs, chopped
4 tablespoons sherry
75g pecans, chopped (or use another nut you prefer)
125g suet
50g brown breadcrumbs
100g muscovado sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
50g plain flour
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 eggs
Butter, for greasing
Brandy, for serving on Christmas day
Whipped cream, for serving
Holly, for garnish


  1. Combine the mixed dried fruits, dates and figs in a mixing bowl (not the pudding basin – that step will come later). Add sherry and mix well. Leave to steep for up to 15 hours for a deeper flavour, or proceed to the next step if you don't have the time.
  2. Add chopped pecans or other nuts, suet, breadcrumbs, sugar, treacle, flour and spices to the mixture. Mix well until evenly blended. Add the citrus zest, juice and eggs again mix well. Let it sit while you prepare your pudding basin.
  3. Grease a 20cm / 1.2 litre pudding basin generously with butter. Cut a round of baking parchment to line the base and two long strips to line the inside of the bowl across, like a crosshatch. Spoon the mixture into the greased and lined pudding basin, smooth over the top, and cover with a double layer of tinfoil. (The foil should reach the middle of the bowl's exterior on both sides.) To keep the foil in place, secure with string or cooking twine – encircle the entire outside lip of the basin and tie a knot on top. You can do this once, or twice in a crosshatch.
  4. Choose a pan large enough to put the pudding basin in and cover with a lid, like a cocotte or casserole. Add enough water to come halfway up to the pudding basin, cover the pot with a lid, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring it back down to a simmer. Simmer for three hours. Check often and add more water as necessary to keep it halfway to the side of the basin.
  5. Once cooked, remove the basin from the pot carefully and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove and re-do both the foil and string, as they will be tarnished. (Follow the same method you did in Step 3.) Place in a dark, cool and dry place for up to two months.
  6. On Christmas day, or the day you want to serve, return the pudding basin to the pot and fill with water halfway up the bowl. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Lift the pudding basin of the pan and onto a tea towel to dry. Carefully remove the string and foil, and invert the pudding onto a serving plate. Give the basin a shake or two before removing the cake.
  7. When ready to present, pour the brandy over the pudding, making sure it covers the pudding completely. If you’d like, carefully set alight with a match—the alcohol burns off very quickly and this adds real flair to your Christmas table. Otherwise, garnish with a little holly and enjoy with a side of whipped cream.

BK Tips

  • Stoneware pudding basins are the traditional and best way to go, as they provide the best temperature control both in the pot and outside when storing the pudding in a cool, dry place. We like white porcelain because it is the most durable stoneware; shop our favourite classic white porcelain pudding basin here. Outside of Christmas, you can use it as a mixing or serving bowl.

  • Don't shy away from being adventurous – you can use classic dried fruits as listed above or even dried tropical fruits like mangoes or pineapples; candied ginger would be lovely here as well. 

  • Garnish whipped cream with orange or clementine zest for a beautiful presentation.