Theodora FitzGibbon’s Traditional Christmas Pudding | DonalSkehan.com, This dessert is rich in fruit and luxurious winter spices.The perfect finisher to your Christmas feast!
  • christmas

Theodora FitzGibbon’s Traditional Christmas Pudding

December 05

One of my most proud projects this year was the selecting and photographing the recipes of Irish food writer Theodora Fitzgibbon. From her back catalogue of over 30 recipe books, and through her illustrious career, in particular her Christmas recipes are the ones that are still pulled out of recipe files, newspaper clippings and handwritten notes at this time of year. Theodora’s traditional Christmas pudding is a brilliant, reliable recipe and is hard to beat when smothered in lashings of brandy butter.


  • serves Serves 8
  • time 30 mins + Long cook time


  1. 1. Put the prepared fruit and all dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the bowl and add the grated rind and juice of the orange and lemon and grated carrot. Mix again. Beat the eggs and add them gradually, stirring well. Finally, add the butter, stout and spirits, mixing together thoroughly. Add any charms. Put into 2 x 1.2 litre greased basins, cover with greaseproof paper and then tie a cloth over.
  2. 2. (If necessary they can be left overnight.) Steam or boil, with the water coming up to the rim, for 7 hours, topping up with water as it runs dry. When cooked, uncover and let steam out. Don’t be alarmed if they are not dark brown, this comes with age. Re-cover lightly with greaseproof paper and the following day tie up with clean cloths. Before serving, steam or re-boil for 2 hours.
  3. 3. Puddings can also be cooked in the oven in the following way: put the puddings in a large tin, three-quarters full of hot water. Cover the pudding completely with tin foil and bake at 150°C/300°F/ Gas Mark 2 for 6 hours.
  4. 4. To make the brandy butter, cream together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl. Beat in the boiling water and brandy until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and chill until needed.
  5. TOP TIP

    When serving, pour a little brandy over your puddings and set it a light for that added theatrical wow factor!

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Makes 2 puddings (each 1.2 litre in size):

100g plain or self-raising flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon,

2 tsp mixed spice or ground nutmeg

350g fresh white breadcrumbs (from bread not more than two days old)

50g ground almonds

225g brown sugar

1 carrot, grated

finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon

225g each sultanas, seedless raisins and currants

100g chopped glacé cherries

175g chopped mixed peel (the whole peel is the best)

225g grated suet or butter or oil

300ml Guinness

4 tbsp rum, whiskey or brandy

5 eggs

For the brandy butter:

Serves 12

250g softened unsalted butter

250g icing sugar, sifted

4 tbsp boiling water

6 tbsp brandy


You'll Need

Large mixing bowl

1.2 litre greased basins x2

greaseproof paper


cloth (muslin)

Large pot x 2