Christmas pudFor traditional Christmas puddings, the most convenient are those ready prepared from supermarkets. Below is an alternative, made separately in individual ramekins, which are quick and easy to make in a microwave (600w). Alternatively they can be steamed in the oven in a bain-marie.

500g mixed dried fruit
1/3 cup brandy
125g soft butter
130g dark brown sugar
2T golden syrup
2t vanilla essence
2 eggs
110g flour
2t mixed spice
1t bicarbonate of soda
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated

  1. Grease 12-14 x180ml microwave-safe ramekins (If not using a microwave, set an oven to 170°C).
  2. Place the mixed dried fruit in a bowl, together with the brandy.
  3. Place the butter, sugar, syrup and vanilla essence in a large bowl and cream the mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating continually, until just combined.
  4. Sift together the flour, mixed spice and bicarb. Fold the fruit mixture, grated apple and sifted ingredients into the butter/egg mixture, taking care not to over mix.
  5. Half fill the greased ramekins.
  6. Microwave:
  7. Arrange half the ramekins around the edge of the microwave turntable, and cook, uncovered, at 600w for 10 minutes. Rotate the dishes and cook for a further 4-5 minutes on 600w, or until the centres are almost set. Allow to stand for a further 10 minutes so that the centres can firm up. Repeat with the remaining ramekins.
  8. Oven:
  9. Bake in a bain-marie in an oven at 170°C oven for 30 minutes, or until the centres are firm.

Brandy sauce

This is a classic brandy sauce recipe and is so delicious that you should make at least double quantities. It is just as delicious with a bought Christmas pudding, alternatively try it over grilled summer fruit or ice-cream.

60g butter, at room temperature
1 cups icing sugar
2T brandy
2 eggs, separated
125ml cream

  1. Cream together the butter, icing sugar, brandy and egg yolks.
  2. Place in a double boiler, bring to a simmer, whisking continuously, until it has the consistency of cream and is light and fluffy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Beat the cream to soft peaks and fold into the butter/brandy mixture.
  4. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and immediately fold into the mixture. The sauce can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for at least 3 days.
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Wickedfood Earth Country Cooking School  is located on a sustainable working farm, following organic farming philosophies.

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