Hello. I've just made my first Christmas pudding, following Nigella's recipe (using the 3 pint basin). It rose beautifully during its first steaming, right up to the lid but sank again as it cooled. Is this normal and should it rise again during its second steaming on Christmas day? I want it to be light as the recipe suggests but it looks pretty dense at the moment! Thank you.
Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is packed full of dried fruits and has very little flour and raising agent in it, so although the pudding may have expanded during cooking, it will shrink back as it cools and the top edges may pull away slightly from the sides of the basin too. The top of the pudding should be fairly flat to slightly concave and if this is the case then the pudding is fine. When the pudding has its second steaming to reheat it may rise a little again, but not as much as during the first steaming. The pudding is light for a Christmas pudding, but bear in mind that it will never be as light as a sponge pudding, such as Nigella's Chocolate Pudding For Christmas Pudding Haters.
If the pudding has a very big dip in the centre then it could be that it was not cooked quite thoroughly enough and this could happen if the water was not kept at a brisk simmer or if the pan was allowed to boil dry at any point. Also if too much baking powder was added then the pudding can rise up too much in the first cooking and then sink back, so measure the amount carefully using a 5ml measuring teaspoon. In both cases the pudding should be fine to eat after the second steaming though may be slightly heavier than usual.