As promised last week, here is the ultimate recipe for the perfect Christmas pudding, as used by many of the top Irish chefs. As with the Christmas cake, it is better to make this in early November as the flavours will absorb into the pudding over time and it should be perfect for Christmas Day. You need to purchase a 2lb pudding bowl with a lid, you can get them in most shops such as supermarkets or euro stores. There are quite a lot of ingredients, but it really is worth making if you can.
2oz of plain flour, 1/2 tsp of mixed spice, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg, 2oz of breadcrumbs, 5oz of suet/butter, 4oz of brown sugar, 6oz of raisins, 6oz of sultanas, 1oz of mixed peel, 1oz of ground almonds, 1oz of flaked almonds, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp of treacle, 1 tsp of brandy, 1 tsp of sherry, 1 tsp of whiskey, 1/4 pint of Guinness.
The secret to the perfect pudding is to steep the dried fruit, sultanas, raisins and mixed peel in the alcohol overnight. Then, mix all the dry ingredients together, add the eggs and the alcohol and fruit and mix well.Grease the pudding bowl with butter, and I put a small circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom of the bowl. Add the pudding mixture which should be slightly sloppy, and then put the lid on top. Then, I wrap the bowl tightly with Clingfilm and then wrap again with tinfoil.I have a big saucepan that the pudding bowl fits into so half fill the saucepan with boiling water and put a see through lid on top, then steam the pudding for four hours, making sure that the boiling water is always about half way up the saucepan. (Just keep an eye on it and give it a bit of water every hour )
When the four hours are up, turn off the heat and remove all the wrapping from the pudding and let it cool down. The next day wrap the pudding in greaseproof paper and store at room temperature until Christmas Day. You can either heat the pudding by steaming it again for an hour in the saucepan, or simply in a microwave if you are full from the dinner and want to take the easy way out. I like to serve the pudding warm with either a traditional brandy butter or a warm Bailey’s scented custard and vanilla ice cream. This is such a simple recipe to make, and great to have it ready in advance as there is so much to do in the kitchen on Christmas Day, especially if you have a house full, so give it a go, it’s easy and delicious.
Low fat chocolate marshmallow fudge
If you cannot wait until Christmas and you want a tasty treat today, here is one for you. This chocolate treat is quick and easy to make. Do not sacrifice taste even when you are watching your weight.
2/3 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup of fat free evaporated milk, 2 tbsp of reduced calorie margarine, 12oz of semisweet chocolate (chopped, about 1 1/2 cups ), 14 large marshmallows
Coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray. Stir together sugar, evaporated milk and margarine. Bring to a boil in saucepan, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chocolate and marshmallows. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Pour into pan and refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 36 squares and serve (leave fudge in refrigerator or freezer for a firmer consistency ).
If you would like a recipe or have any cooking questions, you can contact me on my e-mail [email protected] and I will do my best to answer them. Talk to you all next week…..