Fat-free Christmas Pudding
- 400 g / 14 oz dried fruit (a mix of dates, prunes, apricots, raisins, sultanas, currants, with a few tart fruits such as cranberries or cherries if you like. Chop the larger fruits into small bits.)
- Brandy or Whisky or Port (or you can use a sweet fruit juice like apple, but the pudding won’t taste quite the same). Or you can use a mixture.
- 2 tbsp of orange juice (If you use a real orange you can use a vegetable peeler to peel off the orange part of the skin, then chop it up finely and mix it in with the dried fruit).
- 2 tbsp sugar, or syrup, or any other kind of sweetener you like. Maple syrup and molasses work well.
- 3 tbsp porridge oats, or any kind of flour, or breadcrumbs, or a mixture of these.
- 1 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice etc.)
- Juice of 1 lemon (the zest of the lemon can be popped into the dried fruit mix)
- Some vegetable oil
Step by Step Instructions
Put the dried fruit and the orange peel into a bowl. Pour over some brandy (or other liquid) and leave to soak in the fridge, at least 24hours, but several days is better. If the fruit soaks up all the alcohol, pour over a little more. The fruit should end up soft and a bit squishy.
Add the other ingredients and stir well.
Put the pudding mixture into a heatproof bowl lined with oiled greaseproof paper and pack it down firmly, smoothing out the surface.
Tie a bit of greaseproof paper over the bowl, then cover it in kitchen foil, to keep the pudding dry while it is steaming.
Place the bowl in a steamer, or on top of a folded-up cloth in a pan and cook over boiling water for 3 hours, topping up the water as necessary. It can also be steamed in a slow cooker on ‘high’ for 4 to 6 hours on top of a folded-up cloth, keeping the water topped up. It can be cooled down and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, then re-heated in a microwave for a few minutes, or in the steamer for 2 hours. It should be very hot immediately prior to serving.
It can be hard to remove the pudding from the bowl – it will be quite soft and crumbly – it may not be possible to present it in the traditional manner, with holly and so on, but it will still taste good.
This is not a cake-like pudding and does not have the spongy texture of a typical steamed dumpling but it looks like one. It is very rich and sweet and tangy. It serves 4 people who really like dried fruit, or 8 people who just want a wee taste. The recipe is very forgiving – you can substitute almost everything for something else. It is NOT a nutritionally balanced dessert, because it is high in fruit sugars. You could add a grated carrot or two but it wouldn’t make it much more healthy!
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