- 250g block stoned date, finely chopped
Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…
- 125g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 85g light muscovado sugar
- 140g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…
- 2 large egg
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 50g raisin
- 50g chopped candied peel
- 50g dark glacé cherry, halved
- 50g pecan, chopped
Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…
- 50g stem ginger, chopped
For the brandy syrup
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- butterscotch sauce (see related recipes)
- 1 holly sprig, to garnish
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Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl, pour over 250ml boiling water and set aside. Butter a 1.5-litre pudding basin and put a disc of baking parchment in the base.
Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a large bowl, then beat with an electric hand whisk until well blended. Add the cooled date mix and beat again to make a sloppy batter
Stir in the fruits, pecans and ginger, then pour into the pudding basin and cover the basin with pleated baking paper and foil (see tips, below). Put the basin in a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water, then steam in the oven for 3 hrs until a skewer inserted into the pudding comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the brandy syrup. Put the sugar and 75ml water in a pan and stir over the heat until syrupy. Stir in the brandy and remove from the heat. When the pudding is ready, remove from the oven, take off the foil and paper, and push a skewer into the centre – it should come out clean. Pour over the brandy syrup so it soaks into the pudding, then cover until ready to serve. Will keep in the fridge for a week.
To serve, warm the pudding in the turned-off oven once you have taken out the potatoes, or microwave on High, covered with cling film, for 5 mins. Warm the butterscotch sauce (see related recipes) in a pan or in the microwave on Medium for 2 mins. Turn out the pudding onto a plate, pour over some of the sauce and serve the rest in a jug. Top with the holly sprig and serve with good-quality vanilla ice cream
Homemade butterscotch sauce is lovely, but if you don’t want to make your own, serve some bought toffee or caramel sauce instead.
How to cover your christmas pudding
Take a large sheet of aluminium foil and sit a large sheet of baking parchment on top. Make a pleat by folding a crease in the centre of both the parchment and foil. Turn onto pudding, parchment side down, and press around the bowl. Tie tightly with a long piece of string, under the basin’s lip. Trim off the excess foil and parchment, leaving about 6cm. Tuck the paper up and fold the foil around to make it watertight.