Christmas pudding with caramelised oranges

Steamed PuddingReady in 3½ hours

INGREDIENTS:

200g (7oz) dates, pitted and chopped
100g (3½oz) pecans, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 Braeburn apple, grated
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp Brandy
100g (3½oz) butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
150g (5oz) light brown soft sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger

For the caramelised oranges:

3 medium oranges
½ tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp honey


METHOD:

1. Butter and base line a 1½ litre (2½ pint) pudding basin and set to one side. Cut out a large square 
of foil, butter and fold down the centre. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper and set to one side.

2. Place the dates, pecans, carrot, apples, honey, butter, eggs and sugar in a large bowl and combine with an electric whisk.

3. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger and tip into the wet mix. Beat together until just combined.

4. Spoon into the prepared bowl, top with the foil and the baking paper and secure in place with the string. Set in a large pan of simmering water, cover and steam for 2½ hours.

5. Meanwhile, cut the peel off the oranges, halve and cut into thick slices. Place in an ovenproof dish, scatter over the spices and drizzle with the honey. Bake for 20 minutes at 190˚C/370˚F/R5 and then grill for 3-4 minutes until caramelised. Remove the oranges with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Pour the syrup into a pan and bubble for 1-2 mins until thickened. Pour over the oranges and set aside until needed.

6. To serve, invert the pudding on to a plate and top with some of the caramelised oranges and syrup. Serve with a drizzle of thick cream.


Tips for the perfect pudding

Don’t be tempted to peek at the pudding for the first half of cooking as this could make the pudding sink!

If you need to top up with water during cooking, add boiling water so that the cooking temperature doesn’t drop.

To make individual puddings, spoon into 8 buttered 200ml pudding basins, cover with foil and parchment as before and steam for 45 minutes.

A great pudding to make a day or two ahead – once cooked, cool and then wrap in greaseproof paper and cling film. Store in a cool place until needed. On the day, simply warm in the microwave for 8 minutes.

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