Now, as much as I love a traditional Christmas Pudding full of rich boozy dried fruits, aromatic with the scent of the season, mixed spice, and I’ve even converted the haters in my family with my slow cooker version, I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Whilst I really do think they are missing out on the dessert highlight of the year by depriving themselves of the trad version, I can’t see the fruit haters miss out!
It’s Christmas after all and if you aren’t having the traditional pudding then I’m tapping into the second most wonderful treat our tables are laden with at this time of year – chocolate! Yes, my Instant Pot Alternative Christmas Pudding may look like the romantic ideal from a Dicken’s novel but it is totally chocolate, through and through.
Steamed puddings are a childhood favourite for so many Brits. I can’t think of them and not think of school dinners, Enid Blighton storybooks and sweet, sweet comfort in a deep bowl with lashings of custard.
Although the basic recipe starts off life as nothing more than a Victoria sponge mix which is scraped into a buttered pudding basin on top of a puddle of syrup, then placed in a saucepan with boiling water halfway up, where it putters and splutters for 3 hours or so until cooked through. The long process of steaming changes the texture of what, if baked in sandwich tins, would be a sponge cake to a very even crumbed, fluffy pudding.
The magic is definitely in the method. I have made some changes to the basic sponge pudding recipe, using muscovado sugar for extra caramel fudginess and adding melted chocolate for extra decadence but the method remains the same apart from I now cook it in my Instant Pot in a fraction of the time.
At Christmas when every second counts when it comes to getting the feast on the table, let me reassure you, you can leave the cooked pudding in the Instant Pot for up to 2 hours after it is finished cooking giving you plenty of time to finish Christmas Dinner, digest then serve dessert.
Hungry Hubby doesn’t carry the chocolate cake gene (say whaaaat?) but he absolutely loves this pud. I think it walks the line between cake and brownie very convincingly. It tastes like how chocolate fudge cake should taste. If eaten warm. With a large scoop of soft serve vanilla ice cream. And a wanton look of greed in your eyes!
It is so fudgy, it really is a little bit magic and when you top it with swathes of softly set white chocolate ganache that has been laced with a little Advocaat, that Dutch liqueur so popular at Christmastime in the UK at least, you are in for a chocolate celebration and a half!
Of course, it goes without saying, if you leave off the holly decoration, this could be served at any time of year for your next big family do. Leftovers keep really well covered in clingfilm for up to 3 days and microwaved for 30-60 seconds to serve; there’s no need to feel left out even if there are just the two of you like Hungry Hubby and me 😉
- 225 g soft butter
- 225 g soft light brown or muscovado sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 175 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 25 g cocoa
- 75 g dark chocolate melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 60 g white chocolate
- 2 tbsp double cream 30g
- Optional - 2-3 tsp Advocaat liqueur
- A small amount of red and green sugarpaste or an actual sprig of holly
- 1.5 l pudding basin
- Greaseproof paper tin foil and some string or an elastic band
Start by buttering your pudding basin very well with a little extra butter. If making your holly, do it now so it can dry before using. Roll three small red balls and stamping out three green leaves with a plunger cutter then press gently together. Set aside until needed.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa then fold into the creamed butter followed by the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Try not to eat all of the batter and instead scrape it all into your buttered pudding basin!
Take a square of greaseproof paper and lay it over a piece of foil a few inches wider than your basin. Fold across the middle a deep pleat about 1.5 inches wide then paper side down cover the pudding. Secure with string or an elastic band and crimp the paper and foil up around it tightly.
Place the trivet inside the Instant Pot inner pot and sit the pudding on top. Pour in enough boiling water to come about 1 inch below the foil. Put the lid on, leave the vent open and press Steam, setting a timer to 20 minutes (it wont countdown with the valve open).
When the timer sounds to indicate steaming has finished, press Cancel, lose the valve then set it to Manual High for 25 minutes. NPR for 20 minutes* before removing the pudding. Allow it to stand for at least 10 minutes before running a plastic knife around the edges and releasing it only a serving dish.
Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave proof bowl and zap for 30 seconds at a time on medium heating, stirring in between to mix. When just melted, beat really well with a small whisk and if using, add Advocaat to taste. Any more than 1 tbsp and it will be a runny pouring sauce rather than thick and spreadable.
Whisk again and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before spreading on top of your pudding. The pudding retains heat very well so try to wait until serving before topping the pud with the ganache so it doesn't completely melt.
*= this is an extremely forgiving pud. It can be left in the Instant Pot to keep warm until needed for up to 2 hours and will still be delicious and moist. You can make the ganache and leave it at room temp instead as soon as you have set the IP up to steam and by the time you serve, 2-3 hours later, it will be a spreadable texture.
It also keeps up to 2-3 days. Just allow it to cool completely, cover in clingfilm and reheat in the microwave when needed. One of two 30 second zaps on high should do it.
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