My Nan’s Christmas Pud with Vin Santo
Cooks In 3H 15M
- 500 g mixed dried fruit (such as cranberries, cherries, apricots, sultanas and raisins)
- 100 g dates , chopped up
- 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 125 g suet
- 1 orange , zest of
- 125 g plain flour
- 125 g caster sugar
- 150 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons vin santo or brandy
- 1 handful chopped nuts, such as pecans, Brazils or hazelnuts
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 150 ml milk
- golden syrup , to serve
- Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients together, except the golden syrup. Put the mixture into the greased bowl and cover with a double layer of aluminium foil. Tie a piece of string round the side of the bowl. Place in a large saucepan with water halfway up the sides of the bowl. Bring the water to the boil, put on a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 3 hours. (Don’t forget to check the water regularly, making sure that it never boils dry, because if it does, it will burn and the bowl will crack.)
- When it’s ready, remove the foil, turn out on to a plate, drizzle with golden syrup and decorate it as you like. You can also light it with brandy if you want to be really fancy.
Mandarin-in-the-middle Christmas Pud
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 8 hrs, 15 mins
cream or brandy butter, to serve
For the fruit
140g glacé cherries, halved
50g blanched almonds, chopped
1 medium Bramley apple
Bramley apples, peeled, cored and grated to give 175g/6oz flesh
50ml orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
150ml medium or sweet sherry
zest and juice 1 orange
For the pudding
140g cold butter
Butter , plus extra, softened, for greasing
175g dark muscovado sugar, plus 2 tbsp for coating the bowl
175g fresh white breadcrumbs
140g self-raising flou
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
2 large eggs
For the mandarin middle
1 firm mandarin or large seedless clementine, weighing about 140g/5oz
400g white granulated sugar (it must be white for colour)
2 tbsp orange liqueur
- First, prepare the fruit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dried fruit, cherries, almonds and apple with the alcohol and the orange juice and zest. Cover with cling film and leave for at least a few hours, or overnight if you can.
- Next, prepare the mandarin. Put it in a pan, cover with cold water, then cover the surface with a scrunched-up piece of baking parchment. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 mins or until completely tender when poked with a cocktail stick. Remove the mandarin from the water, keeping 300ml of the cooking liquid in the pan. Set aside the mandarin.
- Add the sugar to the cooking liquid in the pan and heat gently to dissolve. Poke several holes in the mandarin, then add to the syrup along with the liqueur. Cover with the parchment again and simmer for 45 mins, turning the mandarin halfway through. By the end of cooking it will be a little translucent and have a dark orange colour. Leave to cool in the syrup (overnight is fine).
- To make the pudding, grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin, then scatter over the 2 tbsp sugar. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and a pinch of salt. Coarsely grate the butter, and fold into the fruit with the dry ingredients, followed by the eggs.
- Fill the basin one-third full with the fruit mix, then nestle the mandarin into it. Pack the rest of the mix around and on top of the mandarin and smooth over. (If you’re not using the mandarin, just press it all in as you’ll have more room).
- Tear off a sheet of foil and a sheet of baking parchment, both about 30cm long. Butter the baking parchment and use to cover the foil. Fold a 3cm pleat in the middle of the sheets, then put over the pudding, buttered baking parchment-side down. Tie with string under the lip of the basin, making a handle as you go. Trim the parchment and foil to about 5cm, then tuck the foil around the parchment to seal.
- To cook the pudding, sit it on a heatproof saucer in a very large saucepan, and pour in just-boiled water to come halfway up the side of the basin. Cover and steam for 6 hrs, topping up the water occasionally. Alternatively, place in a slow cooker, pour hot water halfway up the side of the basin and cook on High for 8 1/2 hrs. Leave the pudding to cool, and leave in a cool, dark place to mature. To reheat, steam in a pan for 1 hr or remove the foil and parchment, cover with cling film and microwave on Medium for 10 mins. Cut the pudding with a sharp serrated knife, so that the mandarin stays in place and everyone gets a piece. Serve with cream or brandy butter.
Mix & Match Mini Christmas Puddings
Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 1 hr, 40 mins
a little butter, for greasing
a little icing sugar, for dusting
For the pudding base
zest 1 orange
100g grated carrot
200g plain flour
250g vegetarian suet
2 large egg, lightly beaten
250g light muscovado sugar
400g raisins, sultanas or currant, or a mixture
Plus your choice of the following
100g mixed peel, dried apricots, dates, stem ginger or glacé cherry, all chopped (or 1 tbsp per pud)
4 tsp mixed spice, ground cloves or cinnamon(or ½ tsp per pud)
4 tbsp orange juice, Sherry or brandy
100g almonds, pecans, walnuts, chopped (or 1 tbsp per pud)
- Mix together all the base ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Grease 8 individual pudding basins or darioles with a little butter, then line the bases with circles of baking parchment.
- Stir your choice of dried fruits, spices and liquid, plus nuts if you are using, into the base mixture. If you’re tailoring your puddings for each guest, then weigh out 225g/8oz base mixture per pud, before adding the extras (see brackets after ingredients for individual pud quantities).
- Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4 and boil the kettle. Fill each basin or dariole with pud mixture. Grease a large sheet of foil, then stick a large sheet of baking parchment on top. Cut it into 8 squares, large enough to cover the puds with overhang, and make a small pleat in each. Cover the puddings by scrunching foil round the edges to completely seal. stick a name label, written in biro, on top of each pud to help identify them when serving. sit the puds in a big roasting tin, pour hot water from the kettle into the tin until nearly halfway up the puds, then cook for 1 hr. Cool, then store in an airtight container somewhere cool and dark, for up to 2 weeks.
- To serve, turn oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 5 after the Christmas dinner has come out, and put the puds back into a roasting tin with hot water, as above. Cook for 40 mins, then turn off oven and leave them there if you’re still eating. Carefully turn out onto serving plates, running a knife round the edge to help release, then dust with a little icing sugar and top with holly, if you like.