Food with JP Passion: My Nanny Farrell’s Christmas Pudding

Food with JP Passion: My Nanny Farrell’s Christmas Pudding

By JP Kennedy

It’s only over the past few years that I have rediscovered a nostalgic love for Christmas puddings and making them.

This is a recipe inspired by my Nanny Farrell, my Mam’s mother, who was a trained chef and excellent baker.

While it’s very easy to make, my key tip is to write down the list of ingredients and tick each one off as you pop it into your shopping basket, as some of the ingredients – namely all of the dried fruits – are not ones I normally store in my pantry.

Give yourself a day when you don’t have to leave the house as they do need to steam for a minimum of 6 hours or longer if possible.

I made my puddings for this year last weekend and was flooded with requests for the recipe.

I believe good old-fashioned Christmas Plum Puddings are making a real comeback.

Don’t forget to make a wish as you stir your puddings.

You can mix all of the ingredients, cover and leave in the fridge for a day or two ahead of steaming – this gives all the flavours time to develop and infuse and your puddings will taste better for it.

Puddings are always best if you can make them 5-6 weeks before Christmas, so now is the best time to make them and bring a little early Christmas joy into your kitchen and homes.

While ‘Stir up’ Sunday is not officially until November 21, I think this is the perfect time to make your puddings to give them ample time to mature and taste all the more delicious for it.


  • 225g plain flour
  • 375g soft dark brown sugar
  • 200ml of stout/Guinness
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 100g chopped almonds
  • 225g shredded suet
  • 200g sultanas
  • 200g currants
  • 200g raisins
  • 175g mixed peel
  • 200g white breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 50ml of whiskey


  1. You will need two pudding basins, this recipe makes two 600ml puddings.
  2. In a large bowl add in the flour, mixed spice and nutmeg. Then add the sultanas, currants, raisins, almonds, mixed peel, apple suet and sugar and mix together.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, orange juice, stout/Guinness and whiskey.
  4. Stir this into the dry ingredients and mix until all well combined
  5. Add the orange zest and give the mixture one last good mix.
  6. To allow the flavours to infuse and the dried fruits to plump up, cover the bowl with a clean, dry tea towel and leave overnight.
  7. When you are ready to cook the puddings – grease your two 600ml pudding basins and divide the mixture between them.
  8. Cover each pudding basin generously with tin foil but leave room at the top to allow the puddings to expand.
  9. Place into your steamers, water coming half-way up the pot and steam for 6-7 hours. Check the steamers from time to time and top up with water as required. It’s important that you don’t let the water boil off.
  10. Once cooked, place a circle of parchment paper on top of each pudding, wrap in a dry cloth or tea towel and store in a cool dry place. I usually store mine on the top shelf in my wardrobe.
  11. On Christmas day, before serving, steam for further two hours and then serve.

My beloved Mam and Dad were huge fans of Christmas puddings served with lashings of freshly whipped cream and custard.

While they are no longer with us, the Christmas tradition of making Christmas puddings is one I will always associate with them.

I can still see the beaming smiles on their faces as they tucked into their pudding for Christmas dessert each year.

My new tradition every year now is to make one for my Aunty Carmel, my mam’s sister, who adores Christmas pudding.

I think with all the challenges of the last two years almost, the most important thing is to focus on what we can do this Christmas.

Keep those family traditions alive and make lots of new, albeit a little different, family memories.

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