This dessert is a classic and delicious ending to Christmas dinner, and why not have the satisfaction of making your own? Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding is a real luxury affair. It’s dark, fruity, moist and so easy to make in advance of the day.
Christmas dinner isn’t complete in our house without a helping of Christmas pudding at the end (with a generous drizzle of brandy cream). It’s something that we always leave room for, no matter how much Christmas dinner we have eaten!
It’s a fabulous pudding because not only is it tasty, but it’s something that can be made before Christmas so there really is no stress of preparing anything on the day.
This recipe is one that has been in our family for several decades so I can assure you that it’s better than any shop bought alternative. It’s packed full of fruit and nuts and has a good measure of brandy and stout thrown in. It really is a treat to eat.
Why make Christmas pudding in the Slow Cooker?
There are several reasons to make a Christmas pudding in the Slow Cooker.
- It can be left to cook. Christmas puddings have a long cooking time (around four hours) and are usually cooked by steaming on the stove. So using a slow cooker means you can avoid a hot and sticky kitchen from a pan boiling away for hours and you also won’t need to worry about the water boiling over or dry. They also consume far less energy.
- Reheat in the slow cooker. Using the Slow Cooker to reheat the pudding on Christmas Day saves precious space on the stove.
Origin of Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding originates from medieval England where it was a simple pudding of suet, spices, dried fruit, breadcrumbs with fortified wine and was cooked by boiling in a bag.
It was in the Victorian era that a lot of the traditions we know today were brought about. For instance, steaming the pudding in a bowl rather than boiling, and the addition of spirits and ales for extra moisture (and flavour!) in the pudding. Not forgetting the past tradition of hiding a silver coin in the pudding batter to bring the finder wealth and luck.
It was also around this time that it became common place to make the pudding ahead of Christmas on ‘Stir up Sunday’. This is the Sunday before Advent starts, and usually five weeks before Christmas.
Ingredients in Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
Most traditional Christmas puddings contain a blend of dried fruits, nuts, spices, flour, breadcrumbs, suet and a splash of booze! However, it’s the quantities of all of these and added extras that make all of the difference.
This recipe contains a mixture of dried fruits, peel and nuts and gets added moisture from fresh lemon and grated apple. Its rich dark colouring and taste is from the addition of stout (I use Guinness) and light Muscavado sugar. It also has a good measure of brandy which mixes really well with the fruit.
Tips to make a Crockpot Christmas Pudding
Freshness of ingredients. Use fresh packets of dried fruit. Although currants and raisins are already dehydrated, if they have been sat in the back of the cupboard for a while the chances are they have gone a bit hard and don’t taste as good as a new packet would.
Soak the fruit the night before. Infuse the fruit with the brandy to make it plump and juicy before using it in the pudding batter.
Make it in advance. Christmas puddings are traditionally made weeks before Christmas so that they have time to mature and develop the flavours. However, they can still taste fantastic if freshly made. Don’t be put off if you’ve missed Stir Up Sunday!
Wrap it well. If you do make the pudding before Christmas, once it’s cooled make sure its wrapped up tightly in cling film and stored in a cool dark place to keep it fresh whilst it’s maturing.
Steps to make Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
Making your own Christmas pudding can seem like an undertaking but it’s actually really simple. You’ll need a 1 litre pudding basin, some kitchen string and cling film. I used this particular pudding basin by Mason Cash.
The day before making the pudding, measure out the dried fruit, pour over the brandy, stir through, cover and leave overnight. This will infuse and plump up the fruit.
On the day of making the pudding, simply add all of the dry ingredients and fruit to a large mixing bowl and stir through with a wooden spoon, then add the liquid (beaten egg, lemon juice, stout) and combine.
If it’s Stir Up Sunday everyone in the house should stir the mixture and make a wish!
Next spoon the mixture evenly into a prepared pudding basin (at this stage the pudding mixture will look pale, this is normal). Loosely cover with cling film, tie with string to secure, then place the bowl in the slow cooker with boiling water.
Once cooked it will be slightly risen, firm when pressed, and a rich dark brown colour.
What to serve with Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding is quite versatile and can be served with many different accompaniments. For example:
- Fresh pouring cream or brandy cream
- Ice cream
- Brandy or rum butter
Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
- 110 g sultanas
- 110 g raisins
- 110 g currants
- 50 g mixed peel
- 50 g almonds peeled and chopped
- 1 apple peeled and grated
- 1/2 lemon juice and finely grated peel
- 100 g breadcrumbs breadcrumbs of 2 thick slices of bread
- 120 g self raising flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- 90 g vegetable suet shredded
- 100 g muscavado sugar light
- 50 ml brandy
- 120 ml stout of your choice, Guinness works well
- 1½ tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 25 g butter for greasing the bowl
- The day before making the pudding, place the sultanas, raisins, and currants in large mixing bowl and pour over the brandy. Stir through and cover. This will allow the fruit to become plump and soak up the brandy.
Making the pudding
- Add all of the dry ingredients (suet, flour, spices, salt, mixed peel, breadcrumbs, almonds and sugar) to a large mixing bowl including the grated apple and lemon rind. Sprinkle over the fruit previously soaked in brandy and stir everything together well.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl (beaten egg, stout and juice of half a lemon) and mix to create the pudding batter.
- Next prepare the pudding bowl by cutting a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of bowl. Then heavily grease the entire bowl with the butter and place the baking parchment in the bottom of the bowl.
- Spoon the mixture into the bowl and smooth over the top. The mixture should come up to 1 cm beneath the lip of the bowl leaving room for the pudding to rise slightly.
- Cover the bowl loosely with cling film ensuring there is an overlap over the outside edge of the bowl of 2-3 cm (enough to cover the lip of the bowl if using a traditional Mason Cash pudding bowl) .
- Take a piece of kitchen string and tie this around the bowl to secure the cling film. The string should sit just underneath the lip of the bowl which will be around 3 cm from the top.
- Place the bowl in the slow cooker and fill it with boiling water to reach approximately 4 cm from the top (around 2/3rds of the bowl should be sitting in the water). Set to low for 9 hours. Note: ceramic pot slow cookers may take longer.
- The pudding will be cooked when it is slightly risen, and has a glazed dark brown top. Allow to cool for a short time then carefully remove from the cooker.
- To remove the pudding from the bowl, run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn the bowl over onto a plate. It should come away cleanly and will be ready to serve.
- If pre-making the pudding to serve at a later date it's best to store it in the pudding basin while it matures. So allow it to cool completely then remove the string and cling film used in cooking. Take a circle of baking parchment and place this neatly on the top of the pudding and cover in two layers of cling film. Store in a cool dry place.
Reheating the pudding
- To reheat the pudding in the slow cooker. Remove the pudding from storage and tie string around the edge of the cling film to secure it (as per the cooking instructions) then place it in the slow cooker. Fill with boiling water up to 2/3rds of the way up the bowl and cook on low for 2-3 hours until heated through and soft.