Christmas Pudding Jellies with Cider Syllabub

This recipe started out as simply a dried fruit and citrus peel compote, but then turning it into little pudding-shaped jellies makes it very festive. A cooler, lighter alternative for those who find traditional Christmas pud too rich. If you make the syllabub just before serving, you get the added bonus of cider bubbles within the cream. But if you want to make it ahead - no bubbles but the same lovely flavour.

Serves 6

Christmas Pudding Jellies with Cider Syllabub
For the compote
 3oz (75g) dried apricots, quartered
 3oz (75g) dried figs, chopped the same size as the apricots
 3oz (75g) dried Agen or pitted ready-to-eat prunes, chopped the same size as the apricots
 3oz (75g) large raisins
 1/2oz (10g) whole candied peel, finely chopped
 generous pinch mixed spice
 a few good gratings nutmeg
 1/2 small Cox's apple, chopped (peel left on)
 grated zest and juice of 1/2 small orange
 grated zest and juice of 1/2 small lemon
 10fl oz (275ml) sweet cider
 1/2oz (10g) whole blanched almonds
For the jelly
 1 x 135g pack Rowntrees orange-flavour jelly
 10fl oz (275ml) smooth style freshly squeezed orange juice
For the cider syllabub
 21/2fl oz (55ml) sweet cider
 11/2 tsp soft brown sugar
 4fl oz (110ml) double cream
 whole nutmeg
You will also need a 2-pint (1.2-litre) flameproof lidded casserole and a 1½-pint (850-ml) shallow, round dish or 6 individual pudding basins.


All you do to start off with is place all the compote ingredients (except the almonds) in a bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave in a cool place overnight.

The next day, pre-heat the oven to gas mark ½, 250°F, 120°C, and pour everything from the bowl into the casserole.

Place it over direct heat and bring it up to a gentle simmer.After that, cover with foil and a lid and place the casserole in the oven to cook very slowly for 3 hours (be careful you don’t overcook it). Then leave the compote to cool.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds. To do this, cut them finely into thin slivers and place them on a piece of foil, then pop them under a hot grill.

Don’t leave them, but watch them like a hawk until they’re nice and golden brown. Then leave to cool.

To make the jelly, break the cubes of jelly into a saucepan and pour over the orange juice. Over a low heat, melt the jelly cubes in the juice, stirring continuously – this will take 4-5 minutes. Don’t let it boil.

Pour the mixture into a large measuring jug and leave it to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dampen the outside of the dish with water, to help turn out the jelly later on. Then, mix the cooled fruit and almonds into the jelly mixture and stir gently together, so that the fruit is evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into the dish or pudding basins, cover with clingfilm and when cold, transfer to the fridge to set overnight.

For the syllabub, pour the cider into a bowl, add the sugar and leave aside for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. Then pour in the cream and whisk with an electric hand whisk until it stands in soft peaks.

Cover and chill until needed.

To serve, remove the jelly from the fridge and leave it for an hour to come to room temperature.

Then, dip the outside of the dish or pudding basins very briefly into hot water to loosen the jelly from the sides, and use a round-bladed knife to release it all the way round.

Place a large, flat plate on top and invert the dish or basins and plate, allowing a minute or two before carefully removing the dish to leave the jelly turned out on to the plate.

Serve cut into slices with the syllabub and a little nutmeg grated over the top.

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