Duncan Livingston is my husband’s beloved grandfather Theo’s father. Duncan was born in 1891. He was the third son of George Archibald Livingston and his wife Joann Livingston (nee McCalman). This Xmas Pudding recipe is Duncan’s mother Joann’s recipe. It’s been handed down from generation to generation, and Theo’s eldest daughter Joan, who is Joann’s great granddaughter and one of my husband’s aunties, gave it to me. This recipe has a history. I am sharing it with everyone.

The original recipe is for a very large family, as Duncan had ten siblings. I have halved the recipe for 8 servings. And the original recipe was written using Imperial measuring system, which I am not familiar with. I wrote this new recipe using Metric system, but the original recipe is included. Cooking method is boiling. You need a piece of Calico cloth and cotton string to wrap the pudding mixture.


8 Servings
*Note: You need a piece of Calico cloth (60cm square OR larger) and cotton string to wrap the pudding


150g Butter *softened
150g (OR 3/4 cup) Sugar
3 Eggs *at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon Marmalade *I used Auntie Joan’s homemade Scottish Marmalade
1/4 cup Brandy *OR Rum, Sherry, Whiskey, etc.
250g Raisins
180g Sultanas
120g Currants
50g Mixed Peel
*Note: You can use 600g Mixed Dried Fruit, that contains all these Dried Fruit and Peel.
150g (OR 1 cup) Plain Flour
120g Bread Crumbs *1 & 1/2 cups ‘Panko’ is about 120g
1/2 teaspoon Bi-carb Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Mixed Spice
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
50g Almonds *I used Slivered Almonds
Extra Flour to spread on Calico before wrapping *optional

Original Recipe

10 oz Butter
10 oz Sugar
6 Eggs
1 tablespoon (20ml) Marmalade
1/2 cup Spirits
1 pound Raisins
3/4 pound Sultanas
1/2 pound Currants
4 oz Mixed Peel
10 oz Plain Flour
8 oz Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon Bi-carb Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
3 oz Almonds

  1. Place all Dried Fruit in a bowl, add Brandy (OR other Spirits), mix to stir, and set aside for a few hours. *Note: This process is not included in the original recipe, but I recommend to do so.
  2. Soak Calico cloth in water, and wash it. Then boil the Calico in boiling water in a large pot for 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove the Calico to a clean plate, and allow to cool. Discard the water. Squeeze the cooled Calico to remove any excess water.
  3. Beat softened Butter & Sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth, add Eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy. Add Marmalade and Brandy soaked Dried Fruit, mix well, then add all dry ingredients, and mix until well combined.
  4. Place the prepared Calico, which is still wet, on a flat clean surface, spread extra Flour, and rub it to form a 40cm round in centre. *Note: This process is not included in the original recipe, but I recommend to do so.
  5. Shape the pudding mixture into a ball, place it in centre, gather up the ends, tie tightly with string, and make a loop at the end if you are going to hang it. *Note: Calico cloth is 60cm square.

  6. Fill up the large pot with water about 3/4 full and bring to the boil. Place the wrapped pudding in the boiling water, add extra boiling water to cover if required, and simmer, with a fitting lid on, for 3 hours (OR 6 hours for original recipe), topping up with boiling water occasionally.
  7. Carefully remove pudding from the pot to a colander, and allow it to drain for 5 minutes before unwrapping it. If you are going to store it, you need to hang it to dry. I used a cupboard door knob to hang. Serve with warm Brandy Custard Sauce.
  8. *Note: This pudding can be cooked pre Xmas and reboiled for 1-2 hours (OR 3 hours for original recipe) on the day you eat it. They say this pudding can be hung and stored for months, but I think it is too risky. It is safe to make this pudding a few weeks in advance if necessary, and store it in the fridge.