Christmas pudding

Dare I say I started the Christmas preparations back in October. Well essentially it consisted of spending maybe 15 minutes mixing the fruit but it counts right..
I ended up going back home for a weekend to celebrate my brothers graduation so what was supposed to be a week of soakage turned into more than 3. 

As usually happens things always fall together and I literally got off the plane to go on a 3 day intensive work course which just knocked the stuffing clean out of me and baking was the last thing on my mind. 

Eventually found my mojo and set about making a gluten free version of this Nigella recipe. Now as with all my recipes I tend to use what I have, in this case I didn't have sherry so I used whiskey and I couldn't get gluten free suet but after some research found a great alternative.

       1¼ cups currants            
1 cup golden raisins 
1 cup roughly chopped pitted prunes          
¾ cup Whiskey
⅔ cup gluten free flour
2⅓ cups gluten free breadcrumbs
14 tablespoons coarsely grated vegetable shortening
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder      
grated zest of 1 lemon   
3 large eggs
1 medium apple (peeled and grated)
2 tablespoons honey
Combine the currants, sultanas and prunes in a bowl with the whiskey and mix well. Cover with cling film and leave to steep overnight or for up to a week. If like me you intend a longer steeping time I recommend putting the fruits in a Ziploc bag to minimize use of fridge space.
While the fruits are steeping I put the vegetable shortening in the freezer, it makes it so much easier to grate when it comes time to put everything together.
When your done steeping and ready to move on with the process, grease your pudding dish and put some water on to boil. Check the level with your dish to ensure the water wont come over the side of the pudding dish. 
Combine all the remaining pudding ingredients in a large bowl. Add the steeped fruits and mix well. Put into your dish and push down to press out any air holes. At this point you can pop on the lid to the pudding bowl. Mine didn't have one so I wrapped my dish in 3 layers of parchment paper and tied it up. I had some mixture left over so used two ramekin dishes for the remaining mixture and wrapped them in parchment also. Place in the pot of water and cook for 5 hours, checking regularly to ensure the water level is maintained.

Once finished cooking, carefully remove from the pot and wrapping but leave in the dish. Allow to cool completely then place in an airtight container for Christmas. The smaller puddings turned out great, I think these would be fantastic as individual servings if you where having a dinner party or if like me you have no patience you can munch on them in the run up to the big day without sacrificing the main feature.. a win win if you ask me!
And finally on the day you intend to serve the pudding, you need to steam it again for 3 hours. Make sure you wrap it well in parchment or tin foil and place in pot of water as before. To serve remove from pot and parchment, turn out onto a plate and remove pudding dish. Decorate as desired.

The pudding can be made up to 6 weeks in advance and stored in a cool dark place until you are ready to serve or you could make and freeze it up to 1 year ahead of time. Just thaw over night at room temperature and follow reheating instructions from serving day above.
 I am way behind on my Christmas decorating this year, these pictures are actually from last years pudding that I never got around to posting. Don't worry I have Septa Unella from Game of Thrones ringing the bell and shouting SHAME in my direction.
She will no doubt get me back later in the week with a Christmas cake recipe trial once I get the decorations up and can get some festive pictures. This years I promise, I didn't make one last year. SHAME!
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Michelle xxx


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