Toronto·HOLIDAY EATS

Traditional Irish Christmas pudding an 'all-hands-on-deck' dish

Every Christmas, the women in reporter Linda Ward's family get together to make a traditional Christmas pudding.

Mixture wrapped in cloth, tied, and boiled for 8 hours

Reporter Linda Ward makes this Irish Christmas pudding, a recipe from her grandmother, every Christmas with her family. (Linda Ward/CBC)

CBC Toronto reporters share their favourite Christmas treats in our Holiday Eats series.

Every Christmas, the women in our family get together to make a traditional Christmas pudding.  

The recipe goes back generations but the one we use is from my grandmother. My daughters are now also part of the "team effort." This is an all-hands-on-deck project.

It starts with bread crumbs and four pounds of dried fruit, sugar, butter, spices, eggs, and copious amounts of alcohol — some of it doesn't make it in to the pudding. 

My sister butters and flours a cheese cloth the size of my kitchen counter. Then comes the complicated part: the pudding mixture is wrapped in the cloth, meticulously and carefully tied, and boiled for eight hours.  

Then it is hung for two days from a nail in the basement.  

With bated breath, we open the wrapping, to see if it "turned out." It always does, and fills the house with the smells of Christmas.  

In Ireland, most households would have a Christmas pudding to share at their Christmas dinner table. It is usually "blessed" with a drizzle of brandy, the alcohol is ignited into a quick blue flame. In our house, Santa gets the first slice, with a pint of Guinness instead of milk and cookies.

Merry Christmas!

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