Food with Passion: Nanny Farrell’s Christmas pudding

By JP Kennedy

John Paul Kennedy is a self-taught cook and an avid fan of collecting cookery books with a passion for good old-fashioned home cooking. his passion for proper family cooking stems from his TWO Grandmothers who were both excellent cooks, one of whom was a trained chef! JP is also a Christmas fanatic, so he has pulled together a selection of some of his family’s favourite Christmas recipes to share with you in the lead-up to Christmas.

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.

Christmas pudding JP compressor

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 puddings do need to steam for a minimum of 6 hours or even longer if possible.


The smell of a steamed Christmas pudding to me is the essence of Christmas!


  • 225g plain flour
  • 375g soft dark-brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of stout/Guinness
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 75g chopped almonds
  • 225g shredded suet
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 225g raisins
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 200g white breadcrumbs
  • 6 eggs
  • 125ml of milk
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 55ml of brandy


1. Grease with butter two pudding basins – this recipe makes two 600ml puddings.

2. In a large bowl add in the flour, mixed spice and nutmeg. Then add in sultanas, currants, raisins, almonds, mixed peel, suet and sugar and mix together.

3. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, orange juice, milk and brandy.

4. Stir this into the dry ingredients and mix until all are well combined

5. Add the orange zest and give the mixture one last good mix.

6. Divide the mixture between your two greased pudding basins.

7. Cover each pudding basin generously with tin foil but leave room at the top to allow the puddings to expand.

8. Place into your steamers, (if you don’t have a steamer use a large saucepan with a saucer in the bottom), Fill with water 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 you don’t let the water boil off.

9. Once cooked, place a circle of parchment paper on 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.

10. On Christmas day steam for another two hours before serving.

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 and the beaming smiles on their faces as they tucked into their pudding for Christmas dessert each year.

Next weeks’ recipe is Christmas party food!

Contact JP on:

Twitter: @JPKCooking
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Instagram: jpkennedy.kennedy

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