A Light, Vegetarian Christmas Pudding
The quantities for this easy to make Christmas Pudding recipe will make enough for four (very) large helpings and will stretch to six or more if required. If you decide to add nuts, make sure none of your guests have allergies. This recipe was donated by my mother. We enjoyed this pudding Christmas 2001 during our visit to AUS, it suits the life style there as it is is much lighter than the traditional English recipes.
Serve in the same way as you would a traditional pudding, with brandy butter or you can even try to flambe it with Brandy or another spirit if you wish.
Ingredients for a medium size pudding:
1lb (450g) of Mixed Fruit (see below)
5oz (140g) Soft brown sugar
5oz (140g) Breadcrumbs
2oz (60g) Butter
1 teaspoon (5ml) Bicarbonate of Soda
2 heaped tablespoons (40ml) Sago
1 cup measure of Milk (Australian cup size = 250ml)
3 tablespoons (45ml) Brandy (Optional)
Glass or china bowl (about 2pints/1l capacity) and large pot for steaming.
The fruit can be a mixture of practically anything, currants, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries, etc. You could try some dried apricots, dried prunes (do not use too many of these and cut them up to sultana size pieces) if you want to experiment but try the basic recipe first. You could also try adding some nuts (see the warning above) but again, not too many, perhaps 1oz of the total, cut these up small as well.
Soak the Sago in the milk overnight. If you are
adding the optional brandy, add it to the mixed fruit in a bowl and soak
overnight as well.
Add all the ingredients and mix well together. Grease the inside of the bowl to be used for steaming well using a little more butter. This will help it release after cooking.
Cover the bowl tightly with aluminium foil tied with string. Leave at least 1/2" (1cm) above the pudding level to the top of the bowl for expansion. The aluminium foil should be creased to allow for expansion as well. You do this by making it much bigger than the top of the bowl, fold it in half, then fold a strip about 1/22 (1cm) wide back on itself at the crease. Open the foil back up but leave the centre strip folded. Get someone to hold the foil whilst it is tied. the objective is to make a water-tight seal that will keep all the moisture that is inside whilst keeping all the water that is outside out of the pudding.
Put 2" (5cm) of water into a large pot and put in the pudding in the bowl, spacing it at least 1" (2cm) off the bottom. Bring the water to the boil and turn the heat down until the pudding is gently steaming. Steam for 3 hours, watching carefully that it does not dry out. A pressure cooker is ideal for this job but do not use any pressure, you could end up with a new pattern on the ceiling !
You can either serve straight away, serve it cold or reheat thoroughly and serve it hot later.
This pudding will store well for many days
if you want to make it in advance. Just make sure that it is not left uncovered
and that it is kept in a cool place (less than 16 degrees).