Sunday, November 24, 2013

Apricot Holiday Steamed Pudding for Christmas or maybe even Thanksgiving...

(Those are the zested lemons cut into slices before I make them into lemonade this evening, they look a little dry so I thought I would explain!)
Here is my pudding for this year's Holiday celebrations - I think you could easily make this for Thanksgiving and just let it mature for a few days, or store it away for your Christmas Family Dinner - it is a variation on the usual densely fruit studded, very sweet and divine luscious Christmas Pudding - the likes of which you will find HERE on the beautiful Lavender and Lovage blog.

My Steamed Apricot Pudding is a slight variant on the Apricot Holiday Pudding found in "Glorious Gifts from your Kitchen" by Lisa Yockelson - it does contain SUET (luckily I could get local suet from grass fed, farm raised, humanely treated beef) which is a necessary part of a good traditional steamed pudding so it is not for vegetarians, I do have vegetarian alternatives listed at the bottom of this post - I suppose you could substitute butter for the suet but I think the pudding will be more greasy and I cannot guarantee it's keeping quality as suet is added not only to make a less greasy pudding but also improves the keeping qualities of a pudding made so long before the day it will be eaten.

As you can see I had no real holly to hand so I printed out one of my own designs and made it a little oversized for more wit - et voila, holly is on top of the pudding, an absolute necessity if it is going to be eaten on Christmas Day!! :)

So let's begin!! Have a nice big pasta pot/double boiler ready on the stove with bubbling hot water and make sure the water comes up to only about half way up the sides of your chosen bowl - butter very well a pudding bowl of 2 pint/one quart/4 cup capacity.

Makes a pudding sized for about 6 people with dainty appetites - this pudding is nowhere near as sweet as the usual pudding so I am assuming people might want larger portions:

6oz/1 heaped cup dried apricots ( I used Turkish apricots, organic and unsulphured thus why they are not bright orange) chopped into 1/3" pieces
4ozs/ 1/2 cup whole milk
4ozs/ 1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or light cream
1 tablespoon of freshly grated gingerroot

1. Put these 4 ingredients into a pan together and simmer very gently on the stove for about 20 minutes until the apricots are nice and soft then strain the apricots and set aside the resultant cream until cool - don't leave this alone it can curdle really quickly, stay with the pan and stir whilst the apricots soften and soak up the milk/cream.

4oz/1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda/bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2. Sift all of the above together and reserve on a sheet of parchment/baking paper- or a plate - whatever you have to hand - the paper helps you get it into the bowl better as you can curve it to direct the flour etc.

4oz/1 heaped cup of suet - the best quality you can find, grated - best done when the suet is very cold but then allow to warm to room temp.
2oz/ 1/4 cup/ 1/2 stick of salted butter softened to room temperature
4ozs sugar/ 3/4 cup sugar 
Finely grated rind/zest of two, preferably organic, unwaxed, lemons

3. Cream the butter and suet until fluffy and well blended
4. Add sugar and beat until light in colour and even fluffier.
5. Add the lemon zest and blend until evenly distributed.

2 large eggs whisked
1 1/2 ozs/heaped 1/2 cup white bread crumbs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract 

6. Add the whisked eggs in 4 goes and beat between additions.
7. Add the flour/dry ingredients in 2 goes and blend well between additions and add the drained apricot cream alternately.
8. Blend in the apricots gently but evenly.
9. Finally blend in the breadcrumbs.

Ta dah - you have your pudding batter:
Your batter may well look a little curdled but worry not - everything will be OK

10. Spoon the thick batter into the well buttered bowl - there should be quite a bit of space left at the top of the bowl - this pudding expands quite a lot so you don't want it too full:
 11. Cut two circles, one each, of parchment paper and aluminum foil a good bit bigger than your bowl top and secure with rubber bands, then tie string thusly around the bowl so you'll be able to pop it into the steamer and back out without much trouble or burned fingers!
Yes this is a different bowl from a different pudding - I forgot to get a pic of this one before it went in - oops!!
12. Bob your pudding into the steamer and let her steam for 2 hours - check occasionally that there's enough water in there and don't let the pan burn dry - not at all recommended for all sorts of reasons!

13. After 2 hours lift the pudding from the steamer and set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then uncover the pudding and allow it to cool completely.

14. Now wrap in waxed/parchment paper and pop into an air tight container until you are ready to reheat for it's debut at either the Thanksgiving or Christmas table - to do such put it back into the bowl it was steamed in - again well buttered and back into a steamer for about an hour until heated through.

For this pudding I made Sticky Toffee Pudding sauce and thickened it a bit with confectioners/icing sugar and slathered atop and added my 'fake' holly, again not traditional, the sauce I mean, but oh so very good:


2 1/2oz/ heaped 1/4 cup brown sugar 

1 1/2 oz / 3 tablespoons salted butter 

 2 tablespoons cream or half and half 

1. Put all three ingredients in a pan to melt together, mix and keep mixing whilst letting it bubble a couple of minutes until it gets a bit thick - allow to cool and then add a tablespoon at a time of confectioners/icing sugar until the sauce gets quite thick then quickly spread on top of the pudding:
As you can see this is a light coloured pudding and it is very light in texture too, it cuts beautifully - a quiet pudding, James says for an American it is most similar in flavour to something like a Date and Walnut loaf - not too sweet but still quite delightful. It is best served warm as the suet makes it a bit dense when cold.
It does definitely need a few days to develop the flavour so it you are thinking of making if for Thanksgiving do so in the next couple of days!!

Happy baking, steaming and Holidays to you all - please let me know if you make this and feel free to post pics on my FACEBOOK PAGE
For the Folkloric Star fabric, also available as wrapping paper, in the pictures click HERE, for the polka dot holly and other polka dot Christmas items click HERE and for the Blue Rhapsody napkins click HERE 
Thank you!!

Vegetarian options for a Christmas Pudding:

New England Christmas Pudding

Traditional Christmas Pudding
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