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Christmas Pudding

I am currently working on my laptop in the kitchen, with the delicious aroma of Christmas pudding steaming happily on the hob behind me. The recipe I use, has made three good-sized puddings. One of which I steamed yesterday and packed it up in a hamper along with other homemade goodies ready for last nights Dyslexia Action Awards Dinner and Auction. I am yet to find out what the final bid was, but hopefully it was quite high.

Anyway, back to the pudding, so the recipe I use is one that my Grandma used to do. I have added some chopped pecans to her recipe because I quite like the chunky texture, but it is just as delicious without them. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you into a panic, this really is exceptionally simple to prepare, and well worth it. I feel great knowing that at least we I have one thing organised for Christmas day. As for the rest of the food and pressie shopping, they will no doubt be last minute madness purchases.

RICH CHRISTMAS PUDDING

Makes 3 x 900g or 2 x 1.5kg puds
50g self raising flour
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
half tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
50g ground almonds
250g shredded suet
225g dark muscavado sugar
100g white breadcrumbs – from a dry loaf
1.5kg mixed currants, raisins and sultanas
1 tbsp black treacle
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
finely grated zest 1 orange
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
200g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp brandy or rum
150ml Dark ale or stout
4 large eggs, beaten
flour and butter for preparing the pudding basins

Sift together the flours and spices into a large bowl. Stir in the almonds, suet, sugar and breadcrumbs – mixing well. Add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring well after each addition. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge or a really cool place for 24 hours or up to 1 week if possible, stirring a few times.

Grease and lightly flour either 3 x 900ml or 2 x 1.2 litre basins and pack in the pudding mixture. Top the surface of the puddings with a circle of greaseproof paper, and then cover with baking parchment or aluminium foil.

Fold around the edges of the basin and tie to secure with string, or tightly scrunch the foil under the lip of the basin. Place in a steamer, over boiling water for about 6 hours, topping up with water every so often, making sure it doesn’t boil dry.

Leave to cool and remove the parchment/foil and greaseproof paper, and replace with a new lot. The pudding/s can now be stored in a cool dry place. On the big day the pudding can be steamed for about 1 and a half – 2 hours, or covered loosely and heated in your microwave for about 6 minutes on high power, checking every so often by inserting a skewer into the centre, leaving for a couple of seconds. If feels piping hot then the pudding is ready to eat after standing for 1 minute. For more accurate timings, it is best to check your manufacturers instructions.

For a ‘flaming pudding’, half fill a metal ladle with brandy (or as much as you want) and carefully heat over a gas flame or lit candle. When the brandy is hot enough, the brandy will light. Pour the flaming brandy over the pudding. Make sure the lights are out when taking to the table for a grand entrance. A word of advice, if you have a piece of holly on top, watch it doesn’t catch alight – I’m talking from experience!

RUM SAUCE

Serve your Christmas pudding with this rum sauce as it is really delicious. Once made, again it will freeze well – just bring it to a simmer before you serve it.

Makes plenty to serve 8
4 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp caster sugar
500ml milk
3 tbsp rum
100ml single cream

    Mix together the cornflour, caster sugar and a little milk to form a paste. Place the milk in a non-stick saucepan and then stir in the cornflour paste.

    Stir over a medium heat until it thickens and starts to simmer. Stir in the rum and cream.

    Pour into a jug and serve piping hot with the Christmas pudding.

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