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This vegetarian Christmas pudding is really easy and quick to prepare, then you can leave it to cook while you catch up with other things.
125g Waitrose LOVE Life Soft Dried Apricots
100g Waitrose LOVE Life Soft Agen Prunes
400g Waitrose Vine Fruit Mix
3 tbsp brandy
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp mixed spice
50g Waitrose LOVE Life Almonds, chopped
200g dark brown muscovado sugar
100g butter, softened
2 large essential Waitrose Free Range Eggs, beaten
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
75g plain flour
1. Chop the apricots and prunes into pieces the size of a sultana. Place with the vine fruits in a large bowl. Pour over the brandy, orange juice and zest, then mix well and cover. Leave overnight until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well.
2. Grease a 1.2 litre pudding basin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Spoon the pudding mixture into the basin. Cover with a pleated piece of buttered foil (the fold allows for expansion), with the buttered side towards the pudding. Fold the foil over the edge of the basin and tie with kitchen string so no steam can escape. Make a string handle to lift the hot basin out of the pan more easily.
3. Place the basin in a steamer pan, over a saucepan filled with cold water. Alternatively, place an upturned heatproof saucer in the bottom of a deep saucepan and stand the basin on top. Pour cold water into the saucepan so it comes halfway up the basin.
4. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 hours for a light pudding or 8 hours for a darker one. Check the water level regularly and top up with hot water as necessary to prevent the pan from boiling dry.
5. Allow the pudding to cool, then discard the foil and replace with a new piece. Refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.
6. To reheat on Christmas Day, steam or simmer in water for 1½ hours until piping hot. Turn out onto a plate and decorate (optional, see Tip below) and serve with cream or custard.
If you wish, you can flame your pudding by pouring over a little warm brandy and lighting it. Alternatively, decorate it with crystallised fruit: place 1 egg white in a bowl and whip lightly to break up and loosen. Put some granulated sugar on a plate. Choose a selection of fruit, such as whole cherries, physalis, redcurrants, kumquats, figs and grapes, as well as Clementine segments and pomegranate seeds. Using a small pastry brush, paint the fruit first with egg white then sprinkle with and dip gently into the sugar. Place on a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to harden and dry. Arrange around your Christmas pudding.
Please note this decoration contains raw egg, so its not suitable for pregnant women, elderly people or those with a weak immune system.
Typical values per serving:
7.5g protein, 3.8g fibre