Saturday, 29 November 2014

Gluten free Christmas pudding recipe

This was a first attempt at a Christmas pudding and, given that it was gluten free and my first attempt, I was quite impressed with the results, but we haven’t eaten it yet.
I used a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time but I’ll tell you how long you’d need to steam it for if you go for a steamer or saucepan.
  • 500g dried fruit
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 4tbsp brandy
  • 125ml gluten-free dark beer
  • 120g softened unsalted butter
  • 225g dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a random amount of grated nutmeg
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Bramley apple - grated

  • Firstly, looking at the ingredients… grating apple is a messy affair.  I can’t be bothered with grating the apple and if you have a rotary grater then messiness is reduced.  You may want to sprinkle diluted lemon juice on this to stop it from turning brown but given that then end product is brown, I didn’t bother.  I did leave the grating until the last minute but the apple still went brown ish.  The non-specific amount of nutmeg wasn’t overly helpful.  I aimed for about 1/2 tsp but it’s really difficult to judge this amount when you’re grating whole nutmeg.  I need a rotary nutmeg grater because I always come too close to grating my fingers.
  • And gluten-free dark beer.  This does exist but the only place I could find it would have meant ordering a crate of the stuff for over £30.  Instead I found a golden ale sold by the bottle in Sainsbury.  It’s not dark but it’s a better alternative than the pilsner that was the only other alternative.  There might be a non alcoholic alternative but frankly, what’s the point?
  • Right…on to prep.  Butter a bowl with a capacity of 1.2 litres is what the instructions say.  The bowl I had was exactly 1.2 litres in capacity and I ended up with more mixture than I had space in the bowl.  I carried on regardless and had a bit of a bulge (a bit like my tummy) but when cooking, this all got a bit messy.  It wasn’t a disaster but there was seepage. I have cleaned up the seepage and nobody will be any the wiser, unless they’ve read this, but next time a slightly bigger bowl would be better.  In the bottom of your bowl you need to place a circle of greaseproof paper.  I’m not entirely sure this is necessary as my mum never bothered with this type of frippery but hey ho.
  • OK, onward to the mixing.  Actually your fist step is to bung stuff in a saucepan and use the hob.  Not everything, just the dried fruit and yummy (or in my case supermarket own label) brandy and beer.  Heat for two minutes and cool.
  • In a bowl, or in my case Kenwood mixer, beat the butter and sugar.  It will start dark but with enough beating it becomes a light mink colour.  I stop the mixture quite a bit and use a spatula to scrape the bowl and mixer attachment.  This ensures everything gets properly beaten.
  • In another bowl mix almonds, spices and baking powder.
  • Gradually mix the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture and then stir in the citrus zests and apple followed by the dried fruit mixture.
  • At this point the mixture looked very unappetising.
  • Spoon the resultant mixture into the pudding basin and then cover with a pleated piece of greaseproof paper and foil (you can buy greaseproof paper with foil already combined in Wilkinsons).  Pleated means just add a fold about an inch and a half wide to allow for expansion.  Tie this paper/foil in place with string.  I found this a bit tricky and it would have been easier with an extra pair of hands.
  • If using a saucepan then put an old upturned saucer or jam jar lid in the bottom of a saucepan.  Put the bowl on top and opus boiling water in to come up to two thirds of the height of the bowl.  Cover the pan and simmer for 4 1/2 hours.  It’s important not to let the water boil off completely and you should be topping up the water every now and again.  Setting a timer to check every 20 minutes is a good idea.  You do not want this to boil dry.  When cooked you need to cool, and store for up to a year.  To serve you will need to boil like this again for about an hour and a half.
  • If using a pressure cooker then use a trivet, put the bowl in followed by a litre of water around the side.  Cover with the lid but not fully sealed and steam for 15 mins.  After this close the lid and steam at high pressure for 1 3/4 hours.  Release pressure slowly when cooked, cool and store for up to a year.  To serve you need to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes and release pressure slowly.

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