Festive Christmas recipes > Christmas pudding

I love using Cider in my recipes, here it gives extra moisture and wonderful flavour to the dried fruits and grated apple in a traditional Christmas pudding. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s another secret ingredient too, chocolate!

Ingredients >
115g/4oz raisins
115g/4oz currants
115g/4oz sultanas
55g/2oz chopped mixed peel
115g/4oz coarsely grated carrot
115g/4oz cooking apple, peeled and coarsely grated
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
100ml/3½fl oz cider
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp black treacle
115g/4oz muscovado sugar
115g/4oz plain flour, sieved
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
115g/4oz ground almonds
115g/4oz vegetable suet
85g/3oz bitter plain chocolate, roughly chopped

Method >
Grease a 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basin, cut out a small circle of greaseproof paper and use to line the base.
Place dried fruits, chopped peel, grated carrot and apple and orange zest in a large bowl, pour over the cider and allow to stand for about 10 minutes.
Add the beaten eggs, treacle and sugar to the soaked fruits and stir well to combine, then add the flour, spices, ground almonds, suet and chocolate and mix well together.
Pour the mixture into the pudding basin and cover with a circle of greaseproof paper.

Place a large piece of foil on top of a large piece of greaseproof paper then fold in the centre to make a pleat.
Place the pleated papers on top of the pudding basin and use a long piece of string to tightly tie the papers just below the rim of the basin.
With an extra piece of string, tie a long loop across the top – you can use this as a handle to help lower and lift the pudding in and out of the pan.
Place a heatproof saucer in the bottom of a large saucepan and sit the pudding on top.
Fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basin then cover with a tightly fitting lid and bring the water to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 7-8 hours.
Check the water every couple of hours and add extra boiling water as necessary to maintain the water level.
Serve with clotted cream, brandy butter or lashings of custard.

Finely chopped left over Christmas pudding makes a great ice cream folded into softened vanilla ice cream, even the kids will like it. 

Serves: 8.