I can't be the only one that hates Christmas Pudding? Actually, I know I’m not because I hear it all the time, too rich, too heavy and the last thing you want to eat after a big Christmas meal. But, in this country, we seem to be sticklers for tradition. I get that, I like tradition too, well to a point! I also feel happy to rip up the rule book and start again. When Whitworths asked me to come up with a twist on the classic Christmas Pudding, using their great range of dried fruits, nuts and seeds I took it as an opportunity to rethink Christmas dessert. So out went the overly rich dark Christmas Pudding and in came a lighter, individual version, still packed full of fruit, but served with a butterscotch sauce instead. Plus they are smaller individual puddings so they don't feel so extravagant at the end of the meal.
To flavour the puddings I started with the idea of Sticky Toffee Pudding and basically added in more layers of flavour. I kept the classic date base but added dried apricot and sultanas to boost the flavour, texture and to take some inspiration from the traditional pudding with its cornucopia of dried fruits. It couldn't be a Christmas Pudding without some alcohol in there too so the pudding has a good splash of rum hiding in there too. Instead of the brandy butter, another dreaded Christmas recipe for me, I used a simple butterscotch sauce and served it with a little praline. They are as pretty as a picture and whilst they shouldn't only make an appearance at Christmas these would be a wonderful alternative to the classic, much maligned pudding.
Christmas Sticky Toffee Pudding
75g unsalted butter
175g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey
2 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
50g apricots, roughly chopped
50g crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
50g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt
100ml double cream
150g chopped nuts
175g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and lightly grease 10 dariole moulds.
To make the butterscotch sauce place the butter, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted and smooth. Allow to bubble away for a few minutes before adding the cream, stirring to make a smooth sauce. Set aside whilst you make the puddings.
To make the puddings place the dates, water and rum into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer and cook until a thick date paste has formed. Scrape the paste into a bowl and set aside for the moment.
Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and honey into a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time beating until combined before adding the next. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on slow speed until just combined. Add the date puree and the dried fruit and mix until smooth and combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared moulds and place onto a parchment lined baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the pudding spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn onto plates immediately.
To make the praline place the sugar into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar has melted and caramelised, turning a deep brown. Add the nuts and stir together until evenly coated in the caramel. Tip out onto a parchment lined baking tray and use a spatula to press into a thin layer. Set aside until cool. Once cool break into pieces.
Serve the puddings whilst still hot with the caramel and pieces of the praline.
For more recipe inspiration visit whitworths.co.uk/recipes or follow them on Twitter @Whitworths and Facebook and Instagram @WhitworthsUK.
(This is a sponsored post but all content is my own words/opinions)