Pecan topping and sauce


  • STEP 1

    Put the dried fruits, dates, cranberries and ginger in a pan with the orange zest and juice, and the orange liqueur, then warm gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the juices are absorbed and the mixture looks sticky. Set aside to cool.

  • STEP 2

    Lightly grease a 1.3 litre/21⁄4 pint pudding basin, and line the base with a small disc of greaseproof paper. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and flour together in a food mixer or large bowl until creamy, then stir in the cooled fruits, breadcrumbs, cinnamon and nuts.

  • STEP 3

    Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin, cover the bowl with greaseproof paper and foil, and tie on securely with string. Put a long strip of folded foil under the basin and bring it up round the sides so that you can use it as a handle to lift the pudding in and out. Put the basin in a large pan and pour a kettle of boiling water into the pan so it comes halfway up the bowl, then cover and steam for 3 hours, topping up with boiling water every now and then. Leave it to cool, then store in a cool place for up to 1 week or freeze for 1 month.

  • STEP 4

    The sauce can be made up to a day ahead. Melt the butter and sugar together in a frying pan. Tip in the pecans and cook, stirring, for a minute or two to toast them. Add the cranberries, orange juice and liqueur and continue to bubble until rich and syrupy. Cool, then tip into a bowl, cover and chill until ready to eat.

  • STEP 5

    To serve: Steam the pudding in a pan of boiling water for 1 hour, to warm it through.

  • STEP 6

    Put the pecan sauce in a pan, and gently warm through until melted and bubbling. Meanwhile, turn out the pudding. Peel the lining paper from the pudding and pile the nuts and cranberries from the sauce on top, and then generously spoon over the buttery sauce. Decorate with holly and dust lightly with icing sugar. Serve the pudding with the sauce and cream.


If you prefer to serve classic brandy butter instead of the pecan sauce, cream 100g/4oz butter with 85g/3oz golden caster sugar and 50g/2oz light muscovado sugar. Beat in 4 tbsp brandy, spoon into a dish and fork attractively. This can be made up to 2 weeks ahead or frozen.


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A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.17 ratings