These Christmas puddings with a fruity twist are guaranteed to go down a treat with friends and family
- 100g (3½ oz) dried cherries, cranberries or other dried fruit½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 90g (3oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots
- 90g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
- 2tbsp orange juice
- For the sauce:
- 175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar
- 125g (4oz) unsalted butter
- 6tbsp double cream
- 30g (1oz) pecan nuts, chopped
- Juice of ½ orange
Put the dried cherries in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and pour 150ml (¼ pint) boiling water over them. Stir and leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Snip the apricots into small pieces with scissors. Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy and light, then beat in the eggs with a little of the flour. Fold in the rest of the flour, then the cherries and water, apricots and orange juice.
Divide the mixture between 10 x 125ml (4fl oz) dariole moulds or ramekins, well-greased with butter and dusted with flour. Place on a traybake tin and bake at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 25 mins until firm and well risen. Leave to cool in the moulds for 15 mins and they should come out more easily.
To make the sauce, put the sugar, butter, cream and pecans in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the orange juice to taste.
To serve, put the puddings on individual plates and serve topped with a little sauce.
Soaking the dried cherries in the bicarbonate of soda first will plump up and soften them, bringing out the flavour and keeping the cake moist.