So Sister E is gone and it’s back to just me.. but cheer up! Christmas is nearly here and today’s post is a helpful one for those planning their Christmas menu.

For a lot of people, the star of their Christmas feast is the pudding. The best Christmas puddings are made well in advance to allow the flavours to fully develop. Father T, the expert pudding maker in our house, suggests you make your pudding on Melbourne Cup weekend. But if you haven’t made yours yet don’t stress, there’s still time. Get onto it this weekend and not only do you save yourself the stress in the lead up to Christmas day, but you will also be rewarded with a rich pudding full of flavour.

The recipe below is from Father T who has become a pudding expert the past couple years, having taken over the duty from his mother, my grandmother J. His recipe is an amalgamation of 5 different recipes, including recipes from Margaret Fulton, The Woman’s Weekly, and my Granmother’s old favourite, the Invergowrie Cookbook. Included is his recipe for the ‘hard sauce’ – butter flavoured with brandy and sugar – which is a must with any good pud.


Begin this recipe the day before.
Make pudding a month in advance if possible.

250g raisins
250g sultanas
250g currents
100g mixed candied peel
100g glace cherries
3 tbsp brandy

250g butter
250g brown sugar
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp treacle
60g blanched almonds, chopped
170g suet mix, chopped finely
115g breadcrumbs

1 cup plain flour + 2 tbsp self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Mix together raisins, sultanas, currents, candied peel and glace cherries. Sprinkle over brandy and leave overnight.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add milk and treacle and mix together to form a smooth batter.
  3. Stir in the fruit and brandy, almonds, suet and breadcrumbs.
  4. Add sifted flours, spices and salt and mix well.
  5. To cook, transfer mix to a well-buttered pudding tin lined with a circle of grease-proof paper at the base. You may choose to line the tin with the traditional cloth, but we don’t bother. Cover with greased aluminium foil and secure the lid. Transfer to a large pot and fill with water until nearly to the top of the pudding. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 6 hours, keeping an eye on the water level to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.
  6. Remove from the water and allow to cool completely before storing in a cool, dark place until Christmas day.
  7. On Christmas day, to reheat, reboil in a pot of simmering water for 2 hours.

Serves 10-12


Begin this recipe the day before.

250g good quality butter, unsalted
125g pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup brandy
ground nutmeg to serve

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together till frothy.
  2. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the brandy a little at a time until the mixture won’t absorb any more, about 1/2 cup (alternatively, add the brandy to taste as this recipe is quite strong.)
  3. Place in glass dish and store in refrigerator overnight.
  4.  Serve dusted with nutmeg.

Makes enough for 1 pudding