Posted 3rd Dec 2014
In anticipation of Stir-Up Sunday, we visited The Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa on Friday 28th November to learn how to make the perfect Christmas pudding ready to grace the dinner table come Christmas Day
When you enter The Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa in West Sussex you find yourself admiring a peculiar sight. Hanging above the fireplace in the dining room are tightly wrapped parcels, left behind by guests. Some crisp white, marked with names and dates from not too long ago, while others are dark brown and decades old. A tradition that has supposedly gone on for 200 years, it has become the norm for guests to hang their Christmas puddings in The Spread Eagle, and it is said that it reserves a place at the next year's festivities for those who leave their pud behind.
In anticipation of the festive season, we visited The Spread Eagle Hotel to find out from executive head chef, Martin Hadden, how to make a scrumptious Christmas pudding the whole family will love.
Ingredients to make 5, 2lb puddings
8oz brown sugar
2 tablespoons mixed spice
2 lemons, zested
2 tablespoons black treacle
5 fl oz ginger wine or sherry
Mix the breadcrumbs, flour, suet and brown sugar together.
Then add your raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed spice into the mixture.
Next pour in the apricots, peel, cherries and lemon zest. You may wish to cut the cherries and apricots into halves or quarters for more even distribution.
Grate two apples into the bowl and mix with the other ingredients, before adding the eggs.
Dollop on the black treacle, brandy and ginger wine, or sherry if you prefer, and thoroughly mix together. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours to allow all of the flavours to infuse.
Spoon the mixture into ramekins, leaving roughly a centimetre space at the top and cover with a disc of greaseproof paper. Tightly wrap in cling film to keep secure.
To cook, steam each 2lb pudding for four hours, leave to cool and then store in a cool, dry place. To reheat, steam the Christmas pudding for a further two hours and then serve with brandy sauce, cream or custard.
By Lauren Morton