I know a lot of people aren't fans of Christmas pudding these days but I do like a little bit at Christmas. And I think that's the key - a little bit. Certainly one of the reasons I thought I didn't like Christmas pudding when I was a kid was because it was just so filling. After an enormous Christmas dinner, quite frankly the last thing anyone needs is a big helping of Christmas pudding with custard and cream. But with many Christmas puddings being large and designed to feed a whole household of festive visitors, it can be hard to only serve up a little bit.
We never have many people over on Christmas Day and of those there is only really my husband and myself who might want some Christmas pudding. But then again, when we also have mince pies, Christmas cake and yule log all on offer, it isn't a dead cert what anyone will select. As such, it has always seemed sensible to me to cook individual Christmas puddings rather than a massive one. This also enables me to give my mum her own pudding in her hamper of Christmas goodies.
It is normally sometime in the late autumn to early winter when I make the Christmas puddings. If properly cooked and well wrapped, they can keep for months, if not years, so it is fine to make a month or two before Christmas. It also means there is no urgency to eat them up at Christmas too, so often we wait until the yule log and mince pies are eaten up before eating the Christmas puddings so they frequently make a nice New Year dessert instead. Anyway, with autumn fruit to hand, I like to grate some into the Christmas pudding - maybe an apple, occasionally pumpkin, sometimes a quince, but preferrably a pear - a lovely way to make use of these awkward fruit and prefectly complementing the ginger wine soaked dried fruit.
Christmas Pudding (makes 5-6 individual)
250g dried mixed fruit
200ml ginger wine
75g dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
70g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
150g fined grated fruit
1 tbsp black treacle
Soak the fruit in the ginger wine overnight or for several days. Cream together the butter and sugar then add the other ingredients. Spoon into well-butter mini pudding basins and cover with a layer of parchment and foil. Lower onto a trivet in a pressure cooker and pour in boiling water to almost cover. Steam with the vent open for 10 minutes then pressure cook on low for 35 minutes. Leave to cool and depressure then remove. To store, wrap in Clingfilm. To serve, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and serve with hot custard and/or cream or brandy sauce.