- Generously grease a 1.2lb pudding basin and put a circle of nonstick baking paper at the base. Spoon the mincemeat into a large mixing bowl and stir in the grated orange zest and sherry with a wooden spoon.
- Sift in the flour and mixed spice, then stir in with the almonds and breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg, then spoon into the prepared pudding basin. Pack down the mixture with the back of a spoon.
- Cover with a sheet of nonstick baking paper, then a sheet of foil, pleating both in the centre to allow for expansion, then tie around the rim of the basin with string to secure. Loop the string over and tie at the other side to make handles. Trim off any excess paper.
- Place a small upturned plate or saucer in a large, deep saucepan. Put the pudding on top, then pour boiling water down the side until it comes halfway up the side of the pudding basin. Cover and steam for 4 hrs, topping up the water occasionally to make sure it doesn’t boil dry. Test if the pudding is cooked by inserting a skewer through the middle, right through the foil and paper – if it comes out clean, it’s ready; if not, steam for a further 15 mins and check again.
- Remove the foil and paper from the top and leave to cool completely in the basin, then cover with fresh baking paper and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks.
- When ready to serve, remove the clingfilm and wrap as before, then steam for a further 1 hr or until piping hot throughout. Unwrap and turn out onto a serving plate. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp sherry or brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it – use a long match and be careful! Serve with cream, custard, or ice cream.
Mincemeat tip: for maximum sherry and pear flavour, we used this PX sherry, ginger and mincemeat recipe.
Get ahead: Make the Christmas pudding up to 6 weeks ahead and store in a cool, dark place, or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw overnight at room temperature and proceed with step 6 on Christmas Day.
See more Christmas desserts
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Freeze uncooked, assembled Wellington. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. Always defrost and heat thoroughly before eating. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.