1st December 2020
Tips for a stress-free Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but that doesn’t mean the hustle can’t get the best of us all sometimes. We asked our head chef for his favourite Christmas pudding recipe and top tips for keeping calm during Christmas dinner preparations. First, the tips:
- Make your shopping list well in advance. Store all those ingredients separately.
- Pre-cook and pre-prep what you can, the day before.
- Make a list of your guests and check for dietary restrictions and preferences.
- Share the work. Even little jobs like setting the table can free up your time.
- Stay organised and you’ll feel calmer overall.
Now for a mouth-watering Christmas dessert:
150 g Medjool dates
150 g dried apricots
150 g pecan nuts
75 g crystallized ginger
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
150 g dried cranberries
150 g raisins
150 g suet
150 g plain flour
75 g fresh breadcrumbs
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
1 large free-range egg
Unsalted butter, for greasing
Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl with butter.
Destone your dates, then, by hand or in a food processor, finely chop the flesh with the apricots, pecans, ginger and rosemary leaves.
Place it all in a mixing bowl with the cranberries, raisins, suet, flour, breadcrumbs and milk.
Crack in the egg, finely grate in the clementine zest, squeeze in the juice and mix it all together really well.
Tip the mixture into the greased bowl and cover with a single layer of greaseproof paper and a double layer of tin foil.
Tie a piece of string around the bowl to secure them in place and make it watertight, then sit it in a large, deep saucepan and pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl.
Bring the water to the boil, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and reduce to a simmer for 4 hours. Check the water regularly, and keep topping it up with boiling water, if needed.
When the time’s up, lift out the bowl, remove the foil and paper, then carefully turn the pudding out on to a plate ready to serve, or leave to cool and reheat just before you need it.
You can either drizzle it with golden syrup and a swig of Bourbon – gorgeous – or be a bit more flamboyant and gently heat a good few swigs of Bourbon just to warm it, then strike a match to the pan (stand back!), let it flame, and carefully pour it over your pudding.
Present it to your guests and sing some Christmassy songs, then when the flame subsides drizzle with golden syrup.
Serve with cream, custard or even ice cream.