Surely December means Nonconformist Christmas Pud

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At the risk of putting some of you off of me rapidly can I just say that I did leave this post until we were in December, which is more than happens for the actual making of the Christmas pudding which is always made on Stir Up Sunday in November and is the last Sunday before Advent.  I took a quick peek at Wiki and apparently 2/3rds of British children have never stirred a Christmas Pudding so I do exactly as my Mum did (and it’s the same bowl) and we all have to be in the house when then pudding is made.  The children do most of the making and then comes the stirring and wishing part.  Hopefully this is building lovely memories for them but I can probably say that the sheer volume of chocolate orange on Christmas morning is probably what builds the memories over Christmas.  Still, I shall continue.  I wanted to tell you about this as there is still time to make it before Christmas and you just leave it in a cool place until Christmas Day.

I used to always made a traditional Christmas Pudding but a few years ago I came across a Nigella recipe for her Nonconformist Christmas Pudding.  A traditional one was ok, but was too heavy and we rarely wanted it after Christmas lunch and then it was forgotten about.  This one is much lighter and a complete alternative.  It also doesn’t have suet so vegetarian’s will be happy.  A Chef one said it was the best Christmas pudding he had ever eaten and my in-laws tell me that it was lovely cold with cheese on Boxing Day.  So, whatever floats your boat folks. I always chop and change this recipe a bit, normally with the fruit or what type of booze is used so do what you like to suit you.

My food processor broke while I was doing this so most of it was hand chopped – pssst, it’s on my christmas list Mr K…

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Nonconformist Christmas Pud

  • 300g dried figs
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 225g currants
  • 150ml brandy
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 50g cocoa
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g dark soft brown sugar
  • 3 small eating apples
  • 3 large eggs
  • 142ml pot sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 175g dried blueberries

Butter a 2.5 litre pudding basin.

Chop figs in a processor and put in a pan with cranberries, currants and brandy.  Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Spoon butter on top of fruit and put lid on, leave it to simmer for another 10 minutes and the butter to melt into it.

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Measure breadcrumbs, almonds, cocoa, flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar into a bowl.

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Quarter and core apples and thrown them into the processor (no need to clean it between blends).  Add them to dry ingredients and then add the dried fruit and butter – now your entire house will smell like Christmas.

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Break eggs into a bowl, add sour cream, vanilla and spices – you can do this in the blender again to save on washing up and throw into the bowl with everything else.

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Mix all of this together with a wooden spoon once you have put the coins into the mix (we have one coin per person for our family and each throws their own in), each person must take a turn to mix it and make a wish.

Steam this over a pan of water for about 2 hours – my pan isn’t big enough so I put a lid on and wrap the sides in foil but check the water hasn’t boiled dry and top up when it needs it.

You can then store this, covered, in the fridge until Christmas when I steam this for another couple of hours – but steam it for as long as you like, as long as the water isn’t boiling dry it really doesn’t matter.

Then turn it out onto a large serving plate, douse liberally with more booze, vodka is used in our house, set light to it and present to the table. I always always serve this with Cornish clotted cream and homemade brandy butter – hmmm, I’m sure I said this wasn’t rich!

Sorry, no pic of the finished pudding, it’s happily sitting in the fridge awaiting it’s unveiling!

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My Dad’s Favourite Thing!

 

DSC_0963I have to start this post by apologising to my Dad.  Lemon Meringue Pie is his favourite thing but I’m afraid he didn’t even get to eat this.  I was trying to think of a dessert that didn’t involve chocolate.  We are a little boring when it comes to desserts in the Shrinking Queen household, both me and Mr K always go to chocolate as a default – the more chocolatey the better.

However, we were off to some friends for late lunch and were assuming there would be a bbq and really, if the weather was going to be as delightfully hot as it has been recently, chocolate might be a little messy.  Oh, and we had a whole bunch of eggs that needed using – the ones that had to be prized out from underneath Peppa Hen who is incredibly broody at the moment and keeps pecking me every time I reach for them so I have done what any sain person would do and allocated this task to Big Miss K – she has a rather novel way of moving her off the eggs by gently pushing her with a stick until she she gets fidgety and moves, then a swift hand movement and those eggs are ours!

My apologies for this being the second post in a row that isn’t Slimming World friendly to those of you that follow me because of that but it’s a great dessert that needs to be promoted.

Now, can I get into my Dad’s good books by making him one soon?

 

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Lemon Meringue Pie – not Slimming World friendly

For the pastry:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 2 level tbsp cornflour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest 2 large lemon
  • 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
  • juice 1 small orange
  • 85g butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 level tsp cornflour

For the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar, egg yolk (save the white for the meringue) and 1 tbsp cold water into a food processor. Use the pulse button so the mix is not overworked, process until the mix starts to bind. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather together until smooth, then roll out and line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges. Press pastry into flutes. Don’t worry if it cracks, just press it back together as you can see with mine. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil, shiny side down, and chill for 1⁄2-1 hour (or overnight).

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Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.) Lower the oven to 180 degrees C.

While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling: mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.

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DSC_0953Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding).

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Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook), then give it all a swirl. Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.

 

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