I am going to start by NOT apologising for the amount of times I may tell in the next few weeks how much I LOVE Christmas! Pure and simple - it's the best time of the year! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
So when the World's Oldest Pudding Maker - Matthew Walker - set a Christmas Pudding Competition, I was in. Matthew Walker have been making Christmas Puddings since way back in 1899! So it's fair to say they know a thing about Christmas Puddings.
Christmas is all about traditions - advent calenders, Stir-Up Sunday, Coca Cola's Christmas Advert, 12 days of Christmas and the list goes on. Matthew Walker make their Christmas Puddings to the traditional 13 core ingredients, representing Jesus and his 12 apostles (Sultanas, Raisins, Demerara Sugar, Currants, Glace Cherries, Stout, Breadcrumbs, Sherry, Vegetable Suet, Almonds, Orange and Lemon Peel, Cognac, and Mixed Spice). Using the finest of these ingredients makes the most sumptuous and delicious Christmas Pudding.
So the challenge was to create alternative Christmas fare using 'The Pudding'. My mind immediately went into over drive on lots of different ways to use a Christmas Pudding. Here are my two entries (sorry I couldn't decide what to create so whittled it down to these two).
Christmas Pudding Muffins
This is a great way to either use up your Christmas Pudding, or make on Christmas Eve, to then gently warm in the oven on Christmas morning for breakfast.
Makes 12 muffins.
75g Butter, unsalted
200g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tsp Baking Power
75g Castor Sugar, golden
pinch of salt
1 Egg, large
200g Matthew Walker 'The Pudding', crumbled
1. Melt the butter and leave to cool just a little, and preheat the oven to 200 C/ Gas Mark 6.
2. Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, castor sugar and salt into a bowl.
3. In a measuring jug beat together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk together well.
4. With a wooden spoon, slowly pour the wet mix into the dry ingredients, and stir as gently as you can. If it has lumps - great, don't worry that what you want when making muffins. Work the mixture as least as possible.
5. Add the crumbled Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding and again gently fold through the mixture.
6. Spoon into 12 muffin case. I find using an ice-cream scoop gives the perfect measurement, and if its one of those with a handle to squeeze it goes into the cases easy. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
I wanted something different to put on the top, but I didn't want a frosting or an icing. So I decided to put a crunchy topping of castor sugar and clementine zest.
5 tbsp Castor Sugar
Zest of 1 Clementine
1. Place castor sugar and zest into a pestle and mortar and grind up well. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more castor sugar.
2. Once the muffins are out of the oven, sprinkle a little over the top of the muffins and place back in the oven for 3-4 mins. This will help some of it stick to the muffins.
3. Once the muffins are out of the oven sprinkle again with a little of the sugar and clementine topping.
Christmas Pudding Fritters - with Cointreau and Clementine Cream
If, and a big IF, you have any Christmas Pudding left over, this would make a perfect breakfast on Boxing Day. As it is still Christmas, you can have the cream as well and be very naughty!
Matthew Walker 'The Pudding', sliced
2 Eggs, large
1 tbsp Castor Sugar, golden
1tsp Cinnamon, ground
150ml Double Cream
2 tbsp Cointreau
Zest of 1 Clementine
1. In a bowl or measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, castor sugar and cinnamon. Then pour onto a plate or flat dish.
2. Add the Cointreau to the cream and whisk them to your desired consistency. I whisked them enough to be able to make quenelles. Then stir in the clementine zest.
3. Place the slices of Christmas Pudding into the egg mixture, turning several times to coat well.
4. Place a frying pan on a medium heat, and add the butter. When melted place the egg coated Christmas Pudding slices in the pan. Leave for 3-4 mins and then turn over. The egg should be cooked and a nice colour.
5. Drain on a piece of kitchen paper, place on a plate with the cream and sprinkle of icing sugar....and enjoy!