This Christmas pudding, which can be prepared in advance, is delicious with Calvados sauce, made with French apple brandy.
- 750g (1½lb) luxury dried mixed fruit
- 200g (7oz) dark muscovado sugar
- 60g (2oz) plain flour
- 125g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 125g (4oz) chopped suet
- 1 level tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cooking apple, washed
- 2 medium eggs
- 150ml (¼ pint) Calvados
- For the Calvados sauce
- 200g bar white chocolate
- 284-300ml carton whipping cream
- 2tbsp Calvados
- Edible silver decorations
- 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basin, buttered
- Star sparklers
Place the dried fruit, sugar, flour, breadcrumbs, suet and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix well. Grate the apple around the core, and throw away the core. Add the apple to the bowl and mix it into the dry ingredients. Lightly beat together the eggs and Calvados, and then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well (and make a wish!).
Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin, pressing down quite firmly. Cover with a layer of baking parchment with a pleat in it, held in place with an elastic band. Put pudding in the top of a steamer, and steam for 3-4 hrs, ensuring that the steamer does not boil dry. Remove from the steamer and leave the pudding to cool. Cover with fresh baking parchment and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. (It’s not suitable for freezing).
Steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs to reheat thoroughly.
While the pud can be made in advance, the sauce should be made on the day it’s served. To make the Calvados sauce, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, then stir it until it’s smooth. Stir in the Calvados. Cover the bowl and leave it to cool, then put it in the fridge for a few hours until the sauce thickens.
Turn the pudding out on to a plate and leave it to cool slightly. Stir the sauce, warming it gently, if necessary, to give a pouring consistency and then pour it over the pudding and sprinkle over the edible silver decorations. Stick sparklers into the top. Light the sparklers just before serving (make sure that they’ve stopped sparkling before cutting into the pudding). Serve immediately, before the sauce melts too much.
You can buy edible decorations and star sparklers from Squires Kitchen (0845 225 5671 / www.squires-shop.com) or from most cake-decorating shops.