Shepparton’s Beryl Goodfellow has been perfecting her Christmas plum pudding recipe for the past 70 years.
The 90-year-old started making puddings when she was just 20, but recently her great-granddaughter took over the task.
‘‘She made it for the first time this year; she did it under my guidance,’’ Mrs Goodfellow said.
She said the secret to the perfect plum pudding was in the boiling process.
‘‘You’ve got to wrap it up,’’ she said.
Mrs Goodfellow said it was crucial to put the pudding in boiling water from the start and it must stay in boiling or simmering water for four hours.
‘‘You’ve got to check the water every 20 minutes,’’ she said.
Although it is a long process, Mrs Goodfellow said it was worth the effort for the tasty festive season treat.
‘‘It’s a big process but it’s worth it,’’ she said.
And whatever is left over after Christmas Day goes back into Mrs Goodfellow’s freezer, so she can enjoy a warming pudding on a cold winter’s night.
BERYL'S CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING (BOILED IN CLOTH)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small apple, peeled and grated
2 small carrots, peeled and grated
85g mixed peel
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
tsp bicarb soda
4 tbsp brandy
3 extra tbsp brandy to soak fruit in
1. Chop fruit to the size of a sultana and add three tablespoons of brandy; stir, then place in a sealed container overnight.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy; add orange and lemon rind.
3. Add eggs one at a time; beat well after each one.
4. Add grated apple and carrot, then fruit and bread crumbs, then add sifted flour with spices, followed by four tablespoons of brandy.
5. Prepare a large pot with enough boiling water to come halfway up the pudding.
6. Prepare a 63.5cm (25 inch) square of unbleached calico; if it is new, boil it for 20 minutes before using and wring out.
7. Lay it flat on the bench and spread it with cup plain flour; make it thicker in the centre to make a nice thick jacket that stops the water seeping into the pudding.
8. Place the pudding mixture in the centre of the cloth, then gather the sides in evenly to make a tight ball; hold this as close to the pudding as possible then tie it tight with a strong string. It is best to have a second person to help tie the pudding.
9. Place a loop in the string to hang it after it is cooked.
10. Make sure the water is boiling when you put the pudding in and it must not go off the boil at any time.
11. Check every 20 minutes and always add boiling water. Do not boil too hard; just simmer.
12. Boil for four hours, then lift the pudding out, do not put it down anywhere but hang it to swing free until it is cool.
13. When completely cooled untie the string and dry out the pudding for a day or overnight, then re-tie as tight as possible and store in the fridge.
14. Reboil the pudding in the same manner on the day for 1 hours; lift out of the water and invert onto a plate.
15. Carefully peel off the cloth, taking care not to break the skin.
16. Just before serving, warm the brandy, pour over the pudding, and light it.