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The ‘How to Cheat’ Christmas Pudding with Rum and Mascarpone Sauce

This is a bit of a clever wheeze, if I say it myself. Instead of buying all those Christmas pud ingredients, take a jar of mincemeat from Sainsbury’s and short-circuit all of that. Add just a few extras and you’ve got all the right flavours. The pudding can be made up to a week before and reheated on Christmas Day.

 
 
 The ‘How to Cheat’ Christmas Pudding with Rum and Mascarpone Sauce

  Serves 4

Ingredients
 5oz (150g) self-raising flour
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1 rounded teaspoon ground mixed spice
 2 medium eggs
 2oz (50g) butter, softened
 3fl oz (75ml) black treacle
 4fl oz (120ml) Irish stout
 2 tablespoons dark rum
 3oz (75g) Bramley cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
 1oz (25g) toasted flaked almonds
 6oz (175g) currants
 1 x 411g jar Sainsbury's mincemeat
 grated zest of 1 orange
 grated zest of 1 lemon
 icing sugar to dust, if you like
For the rum and mascarpone sauce
 3-4 tablespoons dark rum, plus 2 extra for flaming, if you like
 1 x 250g tub mascarpone
 1 x 500g tub ready-made fresh custard
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C.)
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Equipment

You will also need a 2-pint (1.2-litre) pudding basin, lightly buttered.

Method

This really is a doddle. All you do is first sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a large bowl, then add the eggs and softened butter. After that, spoon the treacle into a glass measuring jug, add the stout and rum and mix together. Next, pour this mixture into a bowl (it will look lumpy at this stage but don’t worry) and, using an electric hand-whisk, whisk everything thoroughly together.

Now add the apple, nuts, currants, mincemeat and finally the grated orange and lemon zest. Then, using a large spoon, mix everything together thoroughly, and pile it into the pudding basin. Now take a double sheet of foil, measuring 12 in (30 cm) square. Make a pleat in the centre, then place it on top of the basin and twist it all round. Next, place the basin in a shallow roasting tin. Pop it in the oven, then pour 2 in (5 cm) of boiling water from the kettle into the roasting tin and leave the pudding to cook for 2 hours 15 minutes, or until it is springy and firm to the touch in the centre. You may need to top up with water from the kettle halfway through the cooking time. Then remove it from the oven and leave to cool.

On Christmas Day, when you have taken the turkey out of the oven, reduce the temperature to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C), and place the Christmas pudding back in the roasting tin with the same amount of boiling water as before and reheat it in the oven for an hour, or you can reheat it in a 800W microwave for 6 minutes (remember to remove the foil and replace it with clingfilm that have you have pierced with a fork a couple of times).

For the sauce: all you do is warm the custard and mascarpone, whisk them together in a saucepan, then add the rum and keep tasting and adding till you have enough. If you want to flame the pudding as it goes on the table, place it on a large serving plate, then warm 2 tablespoons of rum in a ladle held over a gentle heat and test it with your finger to make sure it’s really warm before setting light to it. Carry the ladle with the pudding to the table, slowly pouring the flames over the pudding. Or you can simply dust with icing sugar. Note The best way to warm up the leftover pud on Boxing Day is to wrap it in foil and reheat in a lowish oven for 15–20 minutes.

 

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