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Irish Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding, though I have no idea why as it does not contain any plums, and is an absolutely essential part of an Irish Christmas.

Every family has its own favourite recipe, but all make a rich fruit pudding with lots of alcohol. Many recipes use suet as the shortening, and while this is certainly more traditional, for me it makes a pudding that is too heavy and ‘fatty’.

In our family we never used it, so perhaps that is why it isn’t to my taste – we substituted butter.

Ideally the pudding is made several months before Christmas – it keeps for ages, years even – but this one tastes very good even if made just a couple of weeks in advance.


  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • I large apple, grated finely
  • 1 cups sultanas
  • 1 cups raisins
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chopped or flaked almonds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chopped cherries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed peel
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg)
  • 3 tablespoons Whiskey
  • 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten together
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) butter


This is enough to make a pudding in a 1 pint pudding bowl. You will need some waxed or greaseproof paper to cover the pudding, or you can use a pudding bowl with a tight fitting lid. You will need a little additional butter to grease the inside of a pudding bowl before adding the pudding mix.


Mix together all the ingredients above, down to and including, the whiskey, in a large bowl. Cover and leave for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

Stir the breadcrumbs through the fruit mix. Using an electric blender, mix the flour, eggs,salt and butter together. Add to the fruit mix and stir well. If the mixture seems a little dry add a dessertspoon or two of milk.

Put the mixture into a bowl and cover tightly using the lid or a cover made from several layers of greaseproof or waxed paper held in place with string.

Place the bowl in a saucepan of water, with the water coming about 2/3rds up the side of the pudding bowl. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Cover the saucepan with a well fitted lid. Simmer like this for about 6 hours. You will probably need to top the water up now and then – keep an eye on it.

The cooked pudding will keep for months. When it is needed, steam it again for about 2 hours in the bowl, or turn out of the bowl and reheat in the microwave oven for about 5-10 mins.

Serve with sherry or brandy sauce or fresh cream.


What Others Say

  1. Neil Nov 28, 2007 at 2:13 am

    I believe “Plum” in Plum Pudding was originally “Plumb” and refers to the raisins and/or currents in the pudding.

  2. jade Feb 13, 2008 at 2:55 am

    This recipe was way good!

  3. seamus mc ardle Dec 8, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Made this pudding last year. Best ever.

  4. Una Dec 16, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Very good, found that it measured up. Thanks

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  7. Jane Nov 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It’s called plum pudding because the fruit used long ago would have been prunes, which are dried plums. Plums are native fruit and surplus would have been dried in the summer. I always use some prunes in the dried fruit for cakes and puddings. They make the mix nice and moist and full of flavour.

  8. Rose Nov 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

    This is amazing – Christmas pudding that lasted years? That was a lot of alcohol. :)  This pudding sounds wonderful – something I want to try.

  9. Pingback: Irish Christmas Pudding, pastel tradicional | Absolut Irlanda

  10. Cyril Daly Sep 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Jane,you are correct. At home in Ireland(when I was young)my mother always used prunes. Here in Austria we dry the plums and I use them in the Plum Pudding, which I am making at the moment

  11. Phil McDonagh Nov 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Hi, have made your tea brack recently and was delicious, I would love to try your Christmas pudding but don’t like cup measurement could you give me ounces please.
    Thank you Phil. 

  12. Robert Dec 24, 2012 at 4:47 am

    When you say it will keep for 4 months…. Is that refridgerated or at room temp???

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