Saturday, 25 November 2017

Christmas Pudding - Healthy! and delicious

I tend to make my Christmas Puds around November time, then wrap and freeze them. Everyone seems to love this recipe as - (apart from being delicious) - isn't claggy or too heavy. (No suet is used). It can also be eaten without being stored for too long.

Although steaming is a bit of a chore, it gives a much better taste and texture. I have tried microwaving this recipe but didnt like it at all.
Steaming is definitely best. If you haven't got a steamer or trivet, you can use some metal jamjar lids and stand the bowl on these. Have the boiling, then simmering water come up at least halfway, and check frequently to replace with more hot water. Use a lid to cover to keep in the steam.

This recipe originally comes from "Richard & Judy's Countdown to Christmas" - (my Christmas Bible! - I actually bought a second copy at for 1p!)

1. Soak the dried fruit overnight in your alcohol of choice - you can use a fruit juice if you dont want to use alcohol - (apple, grape or orange.)  Stir from time to time.
3 ozs. currants (75g)
3 ozs sultanas
4 ozs. raisins (115g) 
you can also include some chopped up apricots - which are lovely
4 tbls (or a little more!) brandy or rum

Next day - in a large mixing bowl  add -
3 ozs. glace cherries (rinsed, drained, dried and halved) - (can use maraschino cherries - added to dried fruit mix)
3ozs. plain or SR flour
1 tsp. mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 ozs. fresh breadcrumbs (50g)
2 ozs. sugar - demerara
2 tsp (vegetarian) gravy browning .......... I think this just helps the colour.
1/2 a lemon & 1/2 an orange (or clementine) - grated zest + 1 tbl. lemon juice
4 ozs grated apple (115g) - no need to peel
4ozs finely grated carrot (peeled) ..... I whizz the apple & carrot in my food processor till almost mushy.
2 eggs + 4 tbls. milk
2 tbls. molasses or cane sugar syrup - (I use molasses)

2. Dust the glace cherries in some of the flour before adding to the rest of the pudding's dry ingredients.

3. Mix all the dry ingredients together first, before adding the wet ones.
Mix together thoroughly - the smell is gorgeous!

4. Place into a buttered 2 pt. (1.2 ltre) Pyrex bowl (or similar), cover well with a sheet of buttered greaseproof or baking parchment, - pleat this to allow for the pudding to rise, then foil over the top - tucking in well around the bowl edges. (I also tend to pleat the foil.) Tie with string to make a handle, or make a flat strip of foil to place under and over the bowl - so you can lift the hot bowl out easily.   Check every so often as you will need to refill with hot water as it evaporates.

Steam for approx. 3 hrs - 4hrs. (If you steam it for longer, you may not need to resteam it as long on the day you need it.)

Cool the pudding - I usually leave it at least overnight covered, then wrap it well  in baking parchment and foil and freeze  until required. It should be defrosted at least two days before needed - at this stage you can add some more alcohol :)   Just keep it in the fridge, till you need it.

On the day: Pierce with a skewer and pour a little more brandy or rum over the Pudding (if necessary) and Steam (covered)  for at least 1-2 hrs. It can be kept on a low light once the re-steaming time is up.You cant really overcook it but you can just test it to see if it's heated right through properly.
lovely smelling mixture :o)
Place in well buttered dish and cover with greaseproof paper - with a pleat in the centre to allow for expansion
Make a second similar cover with foil and a 'strap' of foil, to lift it out easily when cooked
This is a really light and yummy pud,  and tastes of Christmas! -  and I wouldn't go back to making it any other way. Thanks Richard and Judy!

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