Thursday, 29 November 2012

Jan Ellis Pudding with a brandy-orange sauce

I finally steamed my Christmas pudding two days back. The recipe said 10 to 12 hours but I just couldn't bear to carry on for that long and so after about 8 hours I checked it with a skewer, nothing stuck to it and so I decided it was time. While it was steaming, there was no divine smell of the soaked fruits in brandy or anything and I was disappointed. But once the cake was put aside to cool, the smells that filled my house was sooo good. It was like Christmas in a bowl. Ro on the other hand could have been a bit more enthusiastic about it..but instead he asked:
'cant we just buy a pud from M & S like we always do?' 
No we cant because I STIRRED this pud with aching arms and now I want to flambĂ© it for Christmas. OK then this months electricity bill is coming out of your salary. 
Hmm, OK, screw the stirred pud, maybe we can actually just buy it from M & S

But then we agreed to still go ahead with this, with the bill situation still unresolved. But when those smells wafted through the house, I had a slight feeling it was thoroughly worth it. Its now well wrapped up and put in a cool, dark corner for the flavours to develop and then on Christmas day it has to steam for another 2 more house, after which it will be ready to be flambĂ©ed.
Since I couldn't eat the pudding I steamed, I went and baked another pudding yesterday. I am a novice when it comes to steamed puddings and after the 8hr experiment, I didn't want another steamed one. So I opted for the Jan Ellis Pudding which is probably the simplest but tastiest pud I have had in a while. I made it in a 2 litre Mermaid pudding basin which was absolutely perfect for the deed. Made of hard anodised aluminium, the basin is extremely solid and durable and there is even heat distribution which is great for the pudding to cook all the way through. I did butter the basin a bit with fear of not being able to turn it out on to a plate easily, but I doubt that was necessary, as it came out nice and smooth and with no fuss. The only thing I noticed was that, about 10 minutes into the baking time the top started to brown severely. I don't know if it was because of the heat from the basin or just the oven, but it was solved by covering with a silver foil sheet.  

The pudding is traditionally South African and you can read more about it on Cook Sister where I saw the recipe a loong time back and had book marked it. The pudding on its own is pretty average, but the sauce that accompanies it just takes it to a whole different level. Soaked in the sauce, this dessert will definitely be a hit. Go on, try out something different for Christmas and I assure you wont be disappointed.

Recipe adapted from here and here (serves 4 to 6)
IMG_5711 IMG_5700
Milk- 1/2 cup
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Plain flour- 1 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Apricot jam- 2 tbsp
Eggs- 2
Butter- 2 tbsp, melted
Cinnamon powder- 1/8th tsp (optional)

For the sauce
Double cream- 3/4 cup
Boiling water- 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Orange zest- 1/2 tbsp
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Brandy/ Cognac- a few splashes 
Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and keep aside.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and into that add the remaining ingredients. Mix well using a strong wooden spoon, breaking down the apricot jam as you go.
Pour in the milk mix and continue stirring till all the ingredients come together and you get a smooth batter.
Pour into a lightly greased 2 litre pudding basin and bake in an oven preheat at 180C for about 40 to 45 minutes.
Once the skewer comes out clean, take the basin out of the oven and leave to cool for about 5 minutes after which you can turn it on to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the pudding is in the oven, you can get working on your sauce.
Mix together the cream, boiling water, sugar and orange zest in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla and brandy, give a good stir and leave aside till your pud is ready.

When ready to serve, douse the pudding with enough syrup and have it hot or cold.
What I did was, I transferred the pud into a deep plate, warmed it up a wee bit in the microwave and poured over the some of the sauce. 
Left it aside for a couple of minutes and it had soaked up pretty well.
If you don't want to do this, then once you slice the pud, you can pour over the sauce then and serve. Not everyone might enjoy a soaked up pud. I sure did though :)
Notes: Feel free to halve the recipe, in which case you may need to reduce cooking time and also use a smaller pudding basin.
That said, you are free to bake this in any pan you like, a 9 inch cake pan would work perfectly well. But again watch out for cooking time.
I think i over baked my pud  a bit more than necessary and so it wasn't it soft soft. But once the sauce went over, it was no problem at all.
Jeanne of Cook Sister has used orange zest in her batter as well. Feel free to use about 2 tsp of zest if you please.
The cinnamon powder can be replaced with a pinch of nutmeg powder, or completely avoided. Your choice.
The brandy is purely optional. Avoid if not a fan.
I thought the apricot jam would lend a nice taste to the final product, but was disappointed I couldn't even taste it. I wonder why???

With thanks to Mermaid Bakeware for sending me the Pudding Basin for this challenge. All views expressed are my own.


Unknown said...

Loved the shape and the set up..the cake came out so perfect...

Unknown said...

super gorgeous pudding :) and lovely composition Nisha

Anonymous said...

The pudding looks awesome Nisha..It has come out really the sauce ..sounds very tasty :))

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Simply stunnung and awesome looking pudding. Grand preparation.



The pudding looks fabulous!!! I can almost taste the moist, spongy texture of it from the snaps!!!

BTW, I tried the microwave Shrimp biriyani with half the quantity and it came out perfect!!

Suja Manoj said...

New to me,the sauce sounds wonderful..yum

divya said...

absolutely irresistible...

Biny's Recipes said...

simply superb dear.....very inviting clicks

Manju @ Manjus Eating Delights said...

This pudding is new to me...why is it called a pudding? It sort of looks like a cake! I wonder if my question sounds rather silly :-)

Pics are gorgeous as always and I love anything which has anything Orangy infused in it...Wish I could have had a taste.

Priya Suresh said...

Stunning and gorgeous pudding, especially am loving that orange sauce.Lovely captures.

Carole said...

Thanks for linking in to Food on Friday: Christmas. We are now getting a great collection of Christmas ideas.
I am now signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

Unknown said...

Totally awesome... Am bookmarking this... Will try soon...

Jeanne said...

What a fantastic take on a traditional South African pudding! And yes, you are right - the pudding is really simple but *oh* that sauce... Next you have to try Cape brandy pudding - you will love it :)

raaji said...

what a perfect cake..looks like it just slid off the pan

Priya Sreeram said...

like you say christmas in a bowl; lovely clicks gal

Rose from Magpies Recipes said...

I am so inspired to make a christmas pudding too! Mostly just to flambe it :))

Bharathy said...