How To Set Light To A Christmas Pudding

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One thing I’ve never done is set light to a Christmas pudding, so it was something I was quite looking forward to doing this Christmas. Back on Stir-Up Sunday I made my first ever Christmas pudding, and setting light to it, which is another really traditional thing to do, was so easy!

How To Set Light To A Christmas Pudding


How to set light to a Christmas pudding

What you need…

  • a Christmas pudding (homemade, recipe below or shop bought)
  • sprig of holly (optional!)
  • 3-4 tbsps rum, brandy or whisky
  • a metal ladle or small saucepan
  • a long match

What to do…

  1. Place your Christmas pudding on a serving plate – add a sprig of holly for a seasonal flourish.
  2. Gently warm the alcohol of your choice (I used rum, since my pudding was soused in it already!) on a low heat on the stove. About a minute maybe – you don’t want it to boil.
  3. Using a long match set the alcohol alight and pour the alcohol all over the Christmas pudding and wait for the fire to die away before cutting and serving.

Safety Tips…

  1. Do not light your pudding near other flammable sources, e.g., a tablecloth, napkins etc.
  2. Do not stand over the pudding as you pour the lit alcohol, it can reach quite high. You don’t want singed eyebrows!
  3. Do not let children get to close, because fire.

Make sure you turn out all the lights to get the full flame effect, which in all honesty is pretty spectacular!

As for the Christmas pudding I made, Queen Mary Berry’s recipe did not disappoint. The pudding was light and moist and full of flavour; but it didn’t have that heavy taste that I have had in other Christmas puddings in the past. I will definitely make this recipe again in the future, and possibly switch up the types of dried fruit and nuts that go inside.

How To Set Light To A Christmas Pudding


Mary Berry’s Christmas Pudding Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 6 hours
Total time: 6 hours 15 mins
Serves: 8
  • 90 g (3.2oz) self-raising flour
  • 125 g (4.4oz) shredded vegetable suet or grated chilled butter
  • 30 g (1.1oz) blanched almonds, shredded
  • 125 g (4.4oz) carrot, grated
  • 250 g (8.8oz) raisins
  • 125 g (4.4oz) currants
  • 125 g (4.4oz) sultanas
  • 125 g (4.4oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 0.25 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 60 g (2.1oz) mixed candied peel, chopped
  • 90 g (3.2oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 1 lemon, grated zest and juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup butter for greasing
  • 75 ml (2.6fl oz) dark rum or brandy
  • 1 cup brandy butter, to serve
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, suet or butter, almonds, carrot, raisins, currants, sultanas, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, candied peel, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice and eggs, and stir until well combined.
  2. Lightly butter a 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding bowl. Spoon in the mixture and level the surface. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper, then foil, both pleated in the middle. Secure the paper and foil in place by tying string under the rim of the bowl.
  3. Put the bowl into a steamer or saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the water comes halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover and steam, topping up with boiling water as needed, for about 6 hours.
  4. Remove the bowl from the steamer or pan and leave to cool. Remove the paper and foil covering. Make a few holes in the pudding with a fine skewer, and pour in the rum or brandy.
  5. Cover the pudding with fresh greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months. To reheat for serving, steam the pudding for 2-3 hours. Serve at once, with brandy butter.


Create Christmas is an annual series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog where I blog each day with something to cook, craft or create for Christmas. This year I’m also sharing a round-up post with ideas and inspiration from other bloggers. If you’d like to be involved, just check out the Calling All Bloggers post here. Don’t forget to check out the blogger Create Christmas Linky too! 

Create Christmas Linky on The Purple Pumpkin Blog

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