Tag Archives: spice

christmas pudding… last minute!

Christmas pudding is a must have on Christmas Day… even if it’s only a spoonful. Making  Christmas pudding is also part of the ritual of Christmas baking and one of my favourites. Some years ago I fell in love with round spherical moulds and now use them every year when making my Christmas puddings.  I’m not always on top of my Christmas baking and sometimes end up making the pudding a week or so before the big day, so this pudding recipe comes in handy.  I much prefer using butter instead of suet with my recipes as it produces a lighter pudding. Boiling the fruit beforehand means you don’t  have to leave the pudding mixture to sit overnight before steaming. So no worries if you haven’t made your pudding yet… !

christmas pudding

Last Minute Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 25g glace cherries, quartered
  • 75g pitted prunes, chopped
  • 50g dried  soft apricots, chopped
  • 75g raisins
  • 25g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or port
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 50g butter
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 15g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 small granny smith apple, peeled cored and grated
  • 45g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs

How to make:

Add the first 10 ingredients into a saucepan and  place over a gentle heat, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the almonds, egg and apple. Sift in the flour and spices. Add the nutmeg and breadcrumbs and thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

Spoon the mixture into a buttered heatproof pudding bowl (600ml) and smooth the top. Cover with a large round circle of double thickness greaseproof paper with a pleat in the center and tie down with a string. Over wrap the top with some foil.

If you have a spherical pudding mould, follow the included instructions for preparation as there are different sizes, otherwise use the normal pudding bowl.

My favourite pudding mould for Christmas pudding.

Lower the pudding into  a large deep saucepan and pour in some boiling water from the kettle,  about 5cm up the side of the pudding bowl. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and steam for three hours, make sure the water does not boil off during this time and top up with boiling water when necessary.

Note: This pudding can be served straight away after steaming or cooled and re-heated by steaming for an hour when needed. Double this recipe if you need a larger pudding.

Warm Christmas Pudding served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and some Brandy Butter…roll on the 25th! 

This post is part of the Austrailan Festive Favourite blog hop!

pumpkin ice cream

Because the genetic history of the pumpkin is intertwined with the squash I thought I would use pureed butternut squash.  Saying “butternut squash ice cream” does seem like such a mouthful…so pumpkin ice cream it is! You can of course use canned unsweetened pumpkin if you like. Butternut squash has a sweet nutty taste and when blended together with some warm spices makes this a festive type of ice cream. As this is a custard based ice cream using free range eggs is my choice. So if you are a pumpkin fan…start churning!

Ingredients:

  • 225g  prepared butternut squash or canned pumpkin
  • 600ml whipping cream
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (optional)
  • for garnish, 50g chopped walnuts (optional)

for the butternut puree

Peel the skin from one large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes and steam for about 20 minutes or until tender. Pass through a food mill with a medium blade or place in a food processor and process until pureed. Put the pureed butternut squash into a sieve and place over a bowl, letting some of its water drain, about 45 minutes.

for the custard

Place a saucepan over medium heat, pour in the cream, add the brown sugar and pumpkin spice mix.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, heating the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the egg yolks and Kahlua (if using) until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually but slowly whisk into the egg yolks until combined.

Place the bowl with the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 8 minutes) and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. Do not let the mixture boil at any stage or it will curdle. Remove for the heat and cool, stirring occasionally to stop a skin forming.

Combine the pureed butternut squash or canned pumpkin, vanilla extract and Kahlua (if using) with the cooled mixture. Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufactures instructions usually 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the churned ice-cream to a freeze safe container, cover and freeze for about 2 or three hours until firm before serving.

Storage: This ice cream can be made a couple of days in advance. By placing  some cling film directly on the surface of the firmed ice cream and covering with a lid helps preserve its fresh taste. Home-made ice-cream will set very hard so I always place the container in the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften before using an ice-cream scoop.

 Pumpkin Spice Mix

 An electric spice or coffee grinder which is reserved especially for the job of grinding my spices and making up small batches at a time keeps the rich flavour of the spices at their freshest.

  • 1 teaspoon  ground allspice                        1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon         or         1 inch piece  of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground  nutmeg                         4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger                            1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pinches of ground cloves                          1 teaspoon ground ginger

If using ground spices:Mix all the ground spices together and store in a small airtight container.

If using whole spices: Grind the allspice, cinnamon and cloves in an electric spice or  coffee grinder, then mix together with the nutmeg and ginger. Store in a small airtight container.

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