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This post is part 4 in a series of Christmas themed steam oven recipes (parts 1 here, 2 here and 3 here), and it’s by far my most-requested Christmas help item when it comes to converting regular recipes to steam oven ones: steaming a Christmas pudding. The number of cries for help I get on this even surpass roast turkey in the game of ‘how do we impress our guests with this mystical steam oven thingy so they’ll think we’re master chefs’, which is no mean feat.
I had almost decided I wouldn’t do a pudding this year, but right on cue as stir-up Sunday approached last week, I got a small flood of emails asking about the subject, so here we are. I’ve missed stir-up Sunday (sorry), but if you haven’t yet come around to cooking a pudding in your steam oven and want to, it’s not too late! If you make one this week it’ll still have 3 weeks to mature before the big day, which is plenty.
I am fairly certain if you’re a traditional Christmas pudding tragic like me, you’ll have your own favourite recipe and won’t want to deviate too much from it. My favourite happens to be my Mum’s recipe, which, lucky for me, I never make but always get to eat! Here’s the thing about a steam oven Christmas pudding recipe though: it doesn’t matter much the recipe you use because the cooking part is dead easy and doesn’t really vary except by the size of your pudding. Turn on the steam-only setting, large puddings take 5-6 hours (I’ve never hurt one by giving it the full 6 hours), and small ones 1 ½. That’s it. I almost feel wrong writing a whole post about it because it’s just SO. EASY. to do your pudding in the steam oven. The worst part is occasionally having to refill the water tank in your oven (if yours is plumbed, you don’t even have to do that!). Never again will you have to mess about with pots, upturned saucers, cooktop heat levels and frequently topping up water when you want to steam a pudding.
Anyway, given most fruit puddings are a variation on the same theme, I thought I’d try something a little left of centre for the sake of today’s post and make a fig, apricot and orange version. It’s still gloriously rich, dark and stodgy in the nicest possible way a pudding can be, but the figs give it an almost honey-like sweetness and apricots and oranges bring a tang and some tartness to the party (make no mistake, a pudding party is exactly the kind I want to be invited to more often). I couldn’t help myself and tried this one after only a few days but I know the flavours will deepen and soften a little in the coming weeks if I can leave it alone for that long. No promises though.
If mixing it up and deviating from the classic plum pudding isn’t your thing, no matter – follow along below for cooking instructions and apply these to your own delicious pudding recipe. Then write to tell me how you’ll never steam a pudding any other way again.
See you here again soon for more Christmas steam oven recipes – I have a few more things up my sleeve for the next couple of weeks, and I’m pretty excited to share them.
Steam Oven Christmas Pudding with Fig, Apricot and Orange
Makes 1 large pudding (my basin is 1.2l but a 1.5l basin is also just fine to use), enough to easily serve 8-10.
If you prefer individual puddings you can cook this (or any other Christmas pudding) in half-cup dariole moulds. They’ll take 1 ½ hours to cook and about half an hour to reheat in the steam oven.
I like to serve Christmas pudding with vanilla ice cream but a good custard is welcome too. I would never be so irresponsible as to recommend you go totally overboard and do both, because that would just be asking for trouble. Ahem.
I have simply specified ‘chopped’ for most of the fruits below, by which I really mean chopped into approximately the size of a sultana. And I haven’t given cup measurements for the dried fruit but the rough equivalent once chopped is a scant cup for everything except the apricots, which are a full cup.
125g soft dried figs (the ready-to-eat ones), chopped
150g glace apricots, chopped
125g pitted soft prunes, chopped
125g dried cranberries
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy, Cointreau or dry sherry
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
75g (about 1 cup) fresh white breadcrumbs
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
60g (1/2 cup) chopped macadamia nuts
200g (1 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
100g (3.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Put the dried fruit in a large bowl with the alcohol, orange zest and juice. Set aside overnight to macerate.
Grease a 1.2 litre ceramic pudding bowl and line the base with a small circle of silicone baking paper.
Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl of soaked fruit and stir until well combined. Firmly pack the mixture into the pudding bowl, then fold a pleat into a piece of silicone baking paper and use this to cover the bowl (the pleat gives room for the pudding to expand in the oven). Follow the baking paper with a piece of pleated foil, then tie a length of kitchen twine around the lip of the bowl to hold everything in place.
Put the covered pudding into your steam oven and set the oven to 100⁰C (steam only, humidity 100%). Cook for 6 hours – if your oven is not plumbed you’ll very likely need to top up the water tank at least once during this time (my tank lasts for over 3 hours if I don’t open the oven at all so I only have to do this once).
When the pudding is cooked, let it cool to warm on the bench, then transfer to the fridge, still covered, and store for up to 4 weeks (any longer than this and I’d recommend putting it in the freezer, it minimises potential odours/flavour contamination from other things in your fridge).
When you’re ready to serve the pudding, repeat the steaming process for 1 ½ hours to heat it through, then turn out and serve in wedges topped with ice cream and/or custard.
But I don’t have a steam/combi-steam oven! Steam the pudding in a heavy pan with an upturned plate set into the bottom. Put the pudding on top of the plate, pour in water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 6 hours, checking and topping up the water as necessary so it doesn’t boil dry.
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