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  • Recipe Room  »  Christmas pudding

    10

    Ingredients

    • 150g pitted dates, chopped
    • 125g pitted prunes, chopped
    • 100g raisins, chopped
    • 75g glace cherries, chopped
    • 75g glace ginger, chopped
    • 100g mixed dried peel
    • 2 Tbsp mixed spice
    • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
    • 1 cups muscat liqueur
    • 1 cups dark brown sugar
    • ½ cup treacle
    • 100g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1½ cups breadcrumbs
    • ½ cup wholemeal flour
    • 100ml milk
    • 4 eggs
    • rum, to brush

    Christmas pudding

    When I was a kid Christmas pudding was an extreme sport. Weighing it at somewhere near 8kg, this dense wrecking ball of a dessert had more in common with the massive stones thrown at Scottish Highland Games than with any delicious treat in the known culinary universe.

    Amongst the terrified cousins, stories were told of small children reputed to have been pinned down for hours under the weight of a pudding, unable to move or even call for help…

    But to make things even more deadly, my late grandmother used to stud her pud with a couple of handfuls of tiny ancient coins. These shrapnel-sized inclusions were of a perfectly measured diameter, expertly suited to sticking in a small child’s windpipe.

    Apparently you were lucky if you found a threepence in your slice….lucky indeed that you didn’t miss it I reckon!

    At the end of the meal, the coins would be collected up and exchanged for a more contemporary tender. It was like one final gift to round out the festive day.

    But remember, if you’re planning on serving up a Christmas pudding this year, the time to start is now. The process takes at least a week, as the fruits have to marinate and steep to allow them to take on the best flavour and texture. The most common reason for pudding catastrophes is a failure to soak the dried fruits for long enough.

    And once the pud is boiled is really needs to be matured for at least a couple more weeks, as during this time several changes take place. The consistency softens, the taste intensifies, and the form begins to hold together better meaning that it is less likely to crack when sliced on the big day.

    And while you can make a pudding the traditional way in calico, these basin-style recipes are more reliable and less likely to spoil.

    Method

    Combine the fruits, spice, vanilla, muscat, sugar and treacle in a bowl, mix well, the wrap and refrigerate for 1 week to plump.

    Rub the butter, breadcrumbs and flour until crumbly, then stir in the fruit mixture, milk and eggs. Spoon into a well-buttered 2L pudding basin with a disc of non-stick paper in the base. Wrap the top with non-stick paper and two sheets of aluminium foil.

    Place the pudding basin on a trivet in a large pot and add boiling water to 2cm from the lip. Set over a low heat and cook gently for 4 hours. Set aside to cool slowly, then remove from the basin. Wrap well and refrigerate for 3 weeks to mature, brushing with rum every second day.

    Submitted by
    Fast Ed

    Tips and Tricks

    • Milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 weeks, though may separate slightly upon thawing. Use frozen milk in cooking rather than plain drinking and thaw fully in the fridge.

    • To make the most of bread that has gone slightly stale, make your own breadcrumbs – place bread slices on baking pan and bake in a hot oven then crumble. Breadcrumbs are best stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

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