This was a total punt. Venturing into gluten free eating territory with Daddums has been dicey – lots of gummy, unpalatable mush has been tried, with mounting suspicion and much has been rejected, as the suspicions disappointingly prove true. Much of my daydreaming time is now spent pondering what difference simply swapping gluten free products for your more classic food products would be for many different bakes compared to finding totally different recipes to replace things Daddums used to love and enjoy. Anyone who has had to leave gluten behind (you have my utmost sympathies) will know it is a mine field filled with disappointment and some of the most bizarre food textures known to man. Fortunately, my idle daydreaming paid off this time and I think I’ve found a way to have a truly excellent Christmas pudding which gluten-guzzlers would be hard pushed to tell wasn’t packed full of that pesky little protein which makes so many so sick around the world today! Hoorah! The acid taste for GF baking is – it has to be good, not good for being gluten-free. And this certainly is.
Gluten creeps into more food products than you could possibly imagine – did you know a lot of store bought mayonnaises have it in, for instance? Madness! Who has ever added wheat flour to their homemade mayo in their own kitchens! It is such a pain to read labels every single time but a lot of this nonsense is due where processed foods are made and cross contamination occurs with naturally gluten free products, although, actually there are plenty of examples of manufacturers bulking out things with wheat flour to make them cheaper. Grrr. Even suet has traces of gluten in it so you must read the label if you plan on using it this festive season. Can you tell this is testing my patience and making me cynical? Grumpy though I sound it is born out of sheer frustration for my dad who feels like the world of food has been closed to him and we are only slowly making any progress and teeter on him losing faith that food will ever be a pleasure again. I’m not a fan of suet, as I talk about in my slow cooker Christmas pud post so this little pud is made with a healthy measure of butter.
The inspiration for this mini pudding came from this year’s vat of mincemeat – I made Nigella’s suet-free mincemeat from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It cooks down to a pulp and as I have a real aversion to mincemeat which is too rubbly in texture and has quite obvious chunks of dried fruit in, it is bang on the money for me. You can get the recipe online here. Gluten free baking can be unpleasantly crumbly or dry and gazing at the rich and fruity but pulpy mixture before me it occurred to me that a Christmas pudding is often made with all the ingredients in mincemeat, you just add them separately. Given that this was a looser mix than some I have made or bought before now, I thought it would give extra moisture to the finished pudding and it worked a charm. It also meant there was no need to use a 1/16th of an egg, a teeny grating of a huge baking apple or other such daft measures for one solitary dessert. I was loathe to make a full sized version until I was sure it would work for fear of wasting so many expensive ingredients but thankfully, this little pudding is superb (superb being one of my dad’s favourite superlative) – light and fluffy, not even a tiny amount of crumble to it and filled with all the flavours of Christmas pudding – fruit, booze, a little butter and plenty of spice. You can scale it up to make more than one if you would like to give them away to Coeliac friends but I’ve not tested it in a single large pudding basin thus far. We will be serving my usual large Christmas pudding this year for the rest of the family but I thought my Daddums would like to be spoilt with his own special individual one which is quite likely to make us all envious – if he even lets me have a teaspoon of his 😉
- 10g butter
- 1½ tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/8 tsp each of mixed spice, ground nutmeg and ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour
- 3 tbsp gluten free mincemeat
- ½ cap full of dark rum (or booze of your choice)
- ***NOTE – when measuring for this recipe, I packed everything gently into my measuring spoons and flattened it off. They are not rounded spoonfuls nor are they under filled. It’s worth being precise for a dinky little pudding like this***
- Grease an individual pudding basin of approx 250ml capacity with extra butter. A dariole or ramekin would be suitable alternatives – just check the capacity is large enough.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy then measure in all the rest of your ingredients apart from the mincemeat and rum. Fold these in once the mixture has come together.
- Spoon into your prepared basin and cover with a greased and pleated layer of baking parchment then one of foil. Secure under the rim with string. Crumple the paper and foil up around the string to help prevent water sip page into the pudding.
- Place the prepared basin into a small, preferably heavy saucepan which will dissipate the heat evenly as it slowly cooks. Pour boiling water to about 1cm below the string and put on a low heat. You just want a bubble or two to break the surface every few seconds.
- Put on the lid and cook for 3 hours, checking periodically that the heat has remained even and the water hasn’t bubbled away. Remove the foil and paper and check that the pudding is well risen and springs back when gently pressed in the centre. If not, recover it and return to the pan for another 30-60 minutes.
- You could serve the pudding at this point but if you are making ahead then allow it to cool to room temperature then remove and replace the paper, foil and string for fresh. Store somewhere cool and dark for upto a month and reheat by steaming in the same way as above for 30 – 60 minutes until the pudding is warmed through to the centre.