Mini Christmas Puddings
These are made in moments and are cooked in less than an hour, are light textured but have all the flavours of Christmas. You don’t have to make them at the last minute – they freeze beautifully and re-heat like a dream. Serve with rum sauce, crème fraîche d’Isigny made with Calvados or brandy butter.
| 2½ oz (60 g) self-raising flour|
| ½ teaspoon baking powder|
| ½ rounded teaspoon ground mixed spice|
| 1 medium egg |
| 1 oz (25 g) butter, softened|
| 1½ fl oz (40 ml) black treacle|
| 2 fl oz (55 ml) Irish stout|
| 1 tablespoon dark rum|
| 1½ oz (40 g) Bramley cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced |
| ½ oz (10 g) chopped roasted hazelnuts|
| 3 oz (75 g) currants|
| ½ x 411 g jar Marks & Spencer luxury mincemeat |
| grated zest ½ orange|
| grated zest ½ lemon |
| 12 fresh cranberries, to serve|
| 1 tablespoon brandy, if flaming the puddings |
| Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).|
|You will also need 4 x 6 fl oz (175 ml) mini non-stick pudding basins, well buttered, a small, shallow roasting tin, some baking parchment and foil.|
First sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a medium bowl, then add the egg and softened butter. After that, measure the treacle into a glass measuring jug, add the stout and rum and mix these together.
Next, pour this mixture into the bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, whisk everything very thoroughly together.
Now add the apple, nuts, currants, mincemeat and, finally, the grated orange and lemon zests. Then mix everything together very thoroughly, and divide the mixture among the 4 well-buttered pudding basins.
Top each with a small circle of buttered baking parchment, followed by a 7 inch (18 cm) square of foil large enough to fold under the edges of the basins, making a pleat all the way round to seal.
Now place the basins in the tin and place the tin in the oven.
Next pour in 1 inch (2.5 cm) of boiling water from the kettle and leave to cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the puddings are springy and firm to the touch in the centre.
Then remove them from the oven and let them stand for 10 minutes before carefully running a small knife around each one to turn them out on to warm serving plates.
Garnish each pudding with 3 cranberries on top. If you want to flame the puddings as they go on the table, warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat and as soon as the brandy is hot, ask someone to set light to it using a long match.
Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don't pour the brandy over until you reach the table. When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company!
Note: If freezing the cooked and cooled puddings, defrost thoroughly, then place in a loose parcel of foil with a couple of tablespoons of brandy sprinkled over.
Re-heat on a baking tray in an oven pre-heated to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) for 25 minutes.