Christmas Pudding

From Jim Baker

This is a perennial spectacle at the annual Twelfthnight Party, despite some initial challenges with warming the brandy...see the notes that follow the recipe.

This recipe is the official Old Colony Club recipe. It is from Mrs Beeton (I think) and is called something along the lines of "An Excellent Christmas Pudding"


  • Beef suet

  • Breadcrumbs (see notes)

  • Sultana raisins

  • Currants

  • Diced fruits

  • a dozen eggs lightly whipped

  • some more good stuff that I don't remember

  • surely some mace and nutmeg




  • A stout wooden spoon

  • a pudding mold or a pillowcase

  • An enormous pot

  • Lacking a staff of servants, a Cuisinart food processor really is necessary to get the proper texture.


To prepare:

  1. Alternately pulverize the breadcrumbs and suet in the food processor

  2. Combine with fruits

  3. Add lightly whipped eggs

  4. mix gently by hand

  5. pat gently into mold

  6. steam overnight (8 hours)

  7. Turn out onto the Official Old Colony Club Pudding Dish

  8. at serving time, douse with flaming brandy and serve




By the third annual Twelfthnight Gala ('04) we managed to develop a workable system for igniting a cold pudding at some distance from the kitchen. The challenge has always been keeping the brandy warm enough to fume and thus ignite; even a thermos proved inadequate to the task. It was in the closing days of '03 that your humble servant chanced upon a portable butane stove, courtesy of a caterer friend who had acquired it in a sort of caterers' fire sale when such devices were outlawed in New York City.

The portable stove is a clever device, comprising a butane tank on one side, and a burner on the other, the whole encased in an admirably utilitarian black plastic carry-case. I set this contraption up on the ancient (and doubtless highly flammable) stairwell confident that our new and old presidents had the oratorical gifts to ensure my solitude.  With a 1-cup measure purloined from the kitchen, I warmed a generous dram of brandy over the gas flame. This I ignite in situ, and carried flaming to the waiting pudding. As President Brown finished his remarks, I poured the incendiary cocktail over the great cold mass and transformed it into a thing of wonder. This was most propitious, as the incoming president had run out of platitudes and needed this most substantial of sweetmeats to provide the climax!