CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Prep Time: 45mins Cooking Time: 2.5-3hrs Serves: 14-16
Most traditional Christmas puddings are too rich and heavy to eat after a big Christmas lunch, so here is a recipe for a lighter version. No butter, suet, sugar or flour is added – only a little olive oil and honey – and it still manages to taste superb. The chocolate combines with and enhances the flavours of the dried fruit beautifully.
250g dried apricots
200g pitted prunes
145g whole almonds, roughly chopped
145g ground almonds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
750 ml prune juice
90g Venezuelan Rio Caribe Superior 100% cacao, chopped or grated
200g apples, peeled, cored and grated
4 tbsp. concentrated apple juice
Zest of 3 large oranges, grated
4 large eggs
Splash of olive oil
1.8-litre heatproof pudding bowl or 2 x 900-ml heatproof pudding bowls
Chop the apricots and prunes and place in a large bowl with the chopped and ground almonds, the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.
Bring the prune juice to the boil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Lower the heat slightly and simmer until reduced by about two thirds. Remove from the heat and stir in the cacao until it has melted. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Stir all the remaining ingredients, except the splash of olive oil, into the prune juice and chocolate mixture, then tip into the bowl of apricots, prunes, nuts and spices. Cover the bowl and leave in a cool place for 1-2 days, stirring occasionally.
Lightly grease the pudding bowl(s). Fill almost to the top with the prepared pudding mixture. Lightly oil the top of the pudding with the olive oil and cover the bowl with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Tie the paper firmly in place with a length of string, allowing enough extra string to form a handle reaching over to the other side of the bowl.
Place the pudding bowl(s) in a large pan. Add enough freshly boiled water to reach about halfway up the sides of the bowl(s). Place over a low heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 2 ½ – 3 hours, topping up with extra boiled water if necessary. The longer you cook the pudding, the darker it will become.
Using the string handle, lift the pudding out of the pan and set aside to cool. When cold, remove the greaseproof paper and replace with a fresh piece tied firmly in place. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Reheat to serve by steaming again in a large pan of simmering water for 2 hours.