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RNZ Pacific Xmas: It wouldn't be Christmas without the 'pud'

Christmas steamed pudding on a white plate

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without steam pudding for our whānau.

Unless we're back home at our marae for a special occasion, Christmas is the only time we're guaranteed to have this treat.

Steam pudding is traditionally an English dessert with a long history of use in celebrations.

The soft, moist, cake-like pudding is best served with custard or cream.

Whether they remain in fashion in England or not, they are still a huge hit in my home, and because it uses low-cost ingredients, there's always enough for sneaky seconds.

Besides the aunties in the far north, mum's the only one who has the patience and skill to steam up enough pudding for everyone.

She swears by this go-to recipe for anyone wanting to give it a go.

But never fear - if all goes wrong, well spoiler alert…the Kukis do a really good steam pudding and custard at Auckland's night markets too!

What you need:

4 cups standard flour

2 cups sugar

1 extra cup of sugar to burn

½ pound butter

4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp mixed spice

3 eggs

3 cups milk

1 large tin (mum uses one of the big cans of corned beef tins)



Large pot with a lid


1. Place one cup of sugar in a pot, stir and bring to the boil. As soon as it bubbles and rises, take it off the boil and stir until it is slightly cooled. Add hot water from a recently boiled jug and leave it to cool. Note - consistency should be like runny honey and not toffee-like. If this happens, boil again and add more water.

2. Place flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub the mix with hands until fine, with no lumps of butter, like breadcrumbs.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, baking soda, mixed spice and milk.

4. Add the egg mixture to flour mixture and mix well.

5. Add the cooled burnt sugar mixture and mix well until there are no lumps.

6. Grease the inside of your tin well (with butter).

7. Pour mixture into your tin. Cover the tin with one layer of foil and push/lift up to allow rising space. Tighten foil around the tin and add two more layers of foil, again tightening around the tin.

8. Wrap string tightly around the tin and tie off. More string is best to ensure the seal is tight. You could tie a doubled piece of extra string to the sides and over the top of the foil to make a handle.

9. Place in a large pot of boiling water and cover with a fitted lid. Keep pot on boil for two and half hours.

10. Remove tin from pot of water, cut string and carefully tip the pudding out onto a dish. Leave to cool (if you can).

11. Serve with some custard, cream or vanilla ice cream and you're good to go.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!