Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chocolate Salted Caramel Christmas Pudding

Chocolate Salted Caramel Christmas Pudding - scroll down for the full recipe. Read on to find out how I developed the idea and created the melting middle.....

Stir-Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent begins and when families traditionally make their Christmas pudding. The idea is that everyone has a go at stirring the mixture and making a wish.
For any non-UK readers the idea of Christmas pudding might seem a bit strange. It’s actually a cake of sorts, but steamed rather than baked. It contains dried fruit, spices like cinnamon and ginger, and alcohol – the fruit is often soaked in brandy, and traditionally when the pudding is served, brandy is poured over the top and set alight.
I’ve never actually made a Christmas pudding before so when I was asked by Waitrose to come up with a recipe for a Christmas pudding with a twist, I was a little daunted. But I like a challenge, and more importantly the excuse to finally have a go at making a Christmas pudding, even if it wasn’t going to be a traditional one.
My recipe turned out really well; whether you make this or follow your great-grandmother’s recipe that has been handed down through the years, don’t forget that November 22 is Stir-Up Sunday! And if you forget, or don’t have time, then get yourself down to Waitrose and buy one of their Christmas puddings!
Thinking about what kind of twist I could add prompted several ideas, ranging from Christmas pudding cake pops to adding something like orange and Cointreau to the pudding mixture. When I was younger I didn’t particularly like Christmas pudding with all the fruit and would still prefer a chocolate cake to a fruit cake any day… which gave me an idea and I decided to make a chocolate Christmas pudding. But not just stop there: one of my favourite flavours is salted caramel, and I love melting middle puddings where you cut into it and the runny filling oozes out…. I wondered if it was possible to do that in a Christmas pudding given the extended baking time (up to 5 hours). Well, it turns out that it is! Just about, anyway… but I felt my Christmas pudding with a twist was a resounding success (and the results of the taste test were very positive).
I knew the challenge would be what to put in the middle that wouldn’t bake into the cake and would remain liquid – or rather, turn to liquid when heated. As I wanted to use salted caramel, I decided to see if Waitrose sold anything I could use- and they had a packet of Hope & Greenwood Salted Caramel Fudge, which I thought would be perfect.
I thought it would probably melt pretty fast though so I put the fudge in the freezer for a few hours, before baking it into the middle of my Christmas pudding. When the pudding was served, I cut into it, and there was actually some liquid caramel in the middle! There were also some chunky pieces of soft fudge which you can see in these photos.
Christmas pudding is traditionally served with brandy butter which I’ve never particularly liked, so instead I served it with Waitrose’s Seriously Caramel dipping sauce. You can of course make your own sauce but this is much easier!
Here’s the recipe in full:
Chocolate and Salted Caramel Christmas Pudding – an original recipe by Caroline Makes

100g raisins
100g sultanas
75g self raising flour
40g cocoa powder
100g breadcrumbs
100g light brown sugar
100g dates, chopped
100g glace cherries, chopped
100g ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
100g Lindt chocolate with salted caramel, chopped
50g butter, grated
75ml milk - I wanted to use buttermilk but it was out of stock when my online order came
1 egg
75ml brandy- I used Torres 10 from Waitrose
150g Hope and Greenwood salt caramel fudge

to serve: salted caramel sauce
First, take the fudge out of the box and put the plastic bag in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or longer.
Preheat oven to 170C and grease a 1.5- 2 litre pudding basin that you can put in the oven.
Mix the dry ingredients apart from the fudge in a large bowl: the raisins, sultanas, flour, cocoa powder, breadcrumbs, sugar, dates, cherries, ground almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg and chopped chocolate. Stir well to combine.
Sprinkle the grated butter over the top and stir well to combine.
Beat the egg and add it to the milk and mix together. Add the brandy to the milk and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined and you have a sticky, fruity - and quite lumpy - mixture.
Spoon a little of the pudding mixture into your pudding basin so the bottom is covered, then pile the frozen fudge on top. Carefully spoon the rest of the mixture around and on top of the fudge so it is totally covered.
If your pudding basin has a lid place this on top; if not - as mine didn't - cover with two layers of clingfilm and then two layers of foil. Boil the kettle.
Place the bowl in a roasting tray or similar pan you can put in the oven and pour in boiling water until it comes half way up the side of the pudding basin - or fills your roasting tray. You may need to boil the kettle twice. You may find it easier to part fill the roasting tin, then carry it to the oven, then top up the water while it is already in the oven.
Steam in the oven for 4 and a half hours. Check it once or twice during that time to see if the water in the roasting pan needs topping up.
When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool; be careful when you remove the lid or particularly if you have used clingfilm as steam will escape.
When the bowl is cool enough to handle, turn the pudding out on a plate. Serve with caramel sauce and look for the hidden caramel inside!

You can see other ideas for Christmas pudding with a twist here.


Thanks to Waitrose for covering the cost of the ingredients.



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