New England Plum Pudding

This recipe makes a delicious dark, fruity pudding which will complement any meal. It is also a superb alternative to the very rich, traditional Christmas Pudding. The pudding can be made on the day or a couple of days in advance. A second steaming will make a slightly richer pudding. Makes eight generous servings.


4 ounces butter (or margarine, if you prefer)
8 ounces sugar (preferably dark brown soft sugar)
1 egg, unbeaten (medium to large)
4 ounces sifted flour (plain plus tiny pinch of salt)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces sifted breadcrumbs (fresh - not dried)
4 ounces broken walnuts
7½ ounces raisins
6 fluid ounces hot water


Cream butter; add sugar gradually, creaming continually. Beat in egg.
In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients over breadcrumbs, walnuts and raisins; mix well. Add this to the first mixture alternatively with the hot water. (N.B. if you are using an electric mixer, keep the nuts and raisins apart. Add the nuts at the last moment and whizz briefly and just fold in the raisins). Turn (or pour, the mixture will be quite runny) into a greased 3½ pint pudding basin and cover tightly.

My recipe says to put on rack in a very slow oven (250°F 120°C Mark ½) and oven steam for 2½ to 3 hours. But, I have always used a conventional steamer on the top of the oven. Make sure your saucepan doesn't boil dry!

Serve with anything you like. Cream, brandy butter, brandy sauce, custard or ice cream.