Thursday, 29 November 2012
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 flambé 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
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.
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Plain flour- 1 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Apricot jam- 2 tbsp
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
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 :)
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.