Recipe: Nothing says Christmas cheer like this flaming plum pudding

Plum pudding. Picture: Sarah Maingot

Plum pudding. Picture: Sarah Maingot - Credit: Archant

Stir up Sunday – the last Sunday before Advent – may have passed but Ian James and Nick Selby from Melrose & Morgan in Hampstead are keen to share their personal recipe for the traditional dessert.

This is a recipe that’s very close to our hearts. Something that’s been honed in our own kitchen over the last decade before it ever popped up in our shops. Marrying recipes from both our families archives with our own tweaking over the years too. We use butter instead of vegetable suet which gives the pudding a more luxurious texture. The prunes marry well with the brandy - every Christmas pudding needs a good kick of booze - it’s Christmas after all! Served with brandy custard we think it’s the perfect end to a Christmas feast.

Makes 2 x 1-litre puddings


1 orange

1 unwaxed lemon

100 g prunes

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1 eating apple

75 g self-raising flour

1⁄2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1⁄4 tsp ground cloves

175 g unsalted butter, plus more

for the pudding bowls

200 g sultanas

200 g raisins

100g currants

75 g mixed peel

50 g glacé cherries

100 ml each stout and brandy

200 g dark muscovado sugar

25 g black treacle

3 eggs, lightly beaten

75 g fresh breadcrumbs


zester and juicer

box grater and sieve

2 x 1-litre ceramic or plastic pudding bowls


Zest and juice the orange and zest the lemon.

Chop the prunes.

Grate the apple.

Sift the flour, salt and spices together.

Butter 2 x 1-litre pudding bowls.


Soak the dried fruit, peel, cherries, apple and zests in the orange juice, stout and brandy overnight, with sugar and treacle.

Next day, stir in the eggs and fold in the bread- crumbs. Melt the butter in a pan and add, then gently fold in the flour mixture. Divide between the basins and cover each with a disc of baking parchment. If you are using ceramic pudding basins, tie a larger circle of baking parchment around with string, to cover the lids. If using a plastic basin, just pop the lid on that it came with.

Steam over a low heat for six hours, keeping an eye on the water level so that it doesn’t run dry, then remove and cool. Wrap in cling film and store until Christmas Day in a cool spot. Give one away before Christmas. Your pudding will need a two-hour steam to heat through properly. Serve with brandy custard or double cream, not forgetting to ignite the pudding before you bring it to the table (warm the brandy first).