The very second the first crisp and crunchy autumn leaf hit the pavement and dew covered the branches in the many trees around my extremely green city, my thoughts turned immediately to the festive. I can’t help it, Christmas is my favourite time of year and once the warmth of summer has gone for another year, my daily need for light has to be satisfied with a myriad of twinkling fairy lights, wrapped around as many stationary objects as I can find in the Apple Chapel. Last year, my Christmas recipe theme was around cooking for two but this year, my Instant Pot is being put to work and I’ve been busy developing new ways to cook your festive favourites with a few twists and tweaks along the way to keep things interesting. First up, is my Instant Pot Christmas Pudding.
Having converted the Christmas pudding haters in my family to the one I have been making for quite a few years now, it was hard to stray too far from the recipe as I knew how much it was enjoyed. I soak the dried fruits for weeks in booze before making the pudding a good couple of months ahead of Christmas itself. I’m certainly not alone in doing this – a lot of readers have been asking me for Christmas cakes and puddings and given the amount of fruit and alcohol in both, they keep extremely well and are so much better for a little maturation in a cool, dark cupboard. Usually, I have made my pud in the slow cooker as it is so easy to plug in and forget about, as opposed to fussing and tending to a simmering pot on the stove for hours on end. Imagine how thrilled I was to see after minimal tweaking, I could make my Christmas Pud in the Instant Pot in about an hour! In fact, when I think about it, I imagine traditional British home cooks would have been more used to cooking in a pressure cooker than most of us are today so it’s not such a strange idea.
In fact, if anything, I think the texture is quite improved for cooking under pressure. It is the softest, most fudgy Christmas pudding I’ve ever eaten and it’s so easy to make, I will certainly be making extra to give as gifts this year. I’ve done some tweaking of my original recipe as I wanted to not just update the method of cooking but the recipe itself. My family love nuts so some finely chopped pecans went in and to help guarantee moistness and a meltingly soft texture, some finely chopped dates which work as a fabulously sticky and sweet glue as the almost melt on cooking. I’ve found upping the spice level a little but not so much to overtake, and even substituting my homemade Mixed Spice for Pumpkin Pie Spice brings a lovely warming note, I think from the cardamom I add to it. A little grated carrot is a very traditional addition but I have used the less common hazelnut liqueur Frangelico as I always have a bottle in the cupboard (I love the flavour and the fact the bottle looks like a monk complete with a rope tie around it’s ‘waist’!). You may of course use whichever spirit or liqueur you and your family prefer but I do encourage you to be fast and loose with the measuring of said alcohol if you aren’t presoaking the fruits. No one wants a dry Christmas Pudding and certainly, don’t drive home after eating one either! 😉
- 200g dried fruit*
- 50g finely chopped dried dates
- 50g finely chopped pecans**
- 90ml Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)***
- 4 balls of Stem Ginger, finely chopped
- 75g soft butter
- 75g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice (or try my pumpkin pie spice blend for a change)
- 1 tsp orange extract (or zest of an orange)
- 1 tsp lemon extract (or zest of a lemon)
- 70g fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 70g self raising flour
- 1 medium carrot finely grated (about 150g worth)
- 1 tbsp treacle
- If you haven't soaked dried fruit in booze ahead of time, then I would either place the fruit and Frangelico in a covered bowl overnight before you start and perhaps be a bit loose with your pouring wrist when you measure out the liqueur 😉
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to mix.
- Scrape into a well buttered 1.4 litre pudding basin and cover with a piece of well buttered or oiled greaseproof paper then a layer of foil. Use an elastic band or some string to fasten the paper and foil beneath the lip of the pudding basin.
- Lower onto the trivet inside the Instant Pot and pour boiling water to just below the level of the foil. Place the lid on, set the valve to Sealing and give it 10 minutes on Steam.
- When the alarm sounds, do a Quick Pressure Release then set to 45 minutes on Manual on Low Pressure. Do a quick pressure release and remove the pudding to a rack to cool.
- Replace the greaseproof and foil with fresh and dry ones and leave somewhere cool and dark until Christmas Day.
- When ready to cook, place the pudding on the trivet and pour boiling water in as before, setting the Instant Pot to 20 minutes on Steam. You can leave the pressure to release naturally and serve when you are ready on Christmas Day or if you like, do a Quick Pressure Release and serve right away.
- If liked, invert onto a serving plate before portioning and serving with rum or brandy butter, custard or rum sauce mmm 😀
- *= make the dried fruit up with whichever you prefer - currants, sultanas, riasins, cranberries, dried cherries are all good.
- **= if you don't like the crunch of nuts, then replace with dried fruits instead.
- ***= I do love Frangelico and always have a bottle in but please do feel free to use Brandy, Rum, Whiskey or even Amaretto would be lovely. Use whatever you like or have in!
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