CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

For decadence, you can’t beat this three-chocolate Christmas pudding.

By Paul A Young

This is loaded with three different chocolates, but has a lighter texture than the traditional pudding, and is full of alternative dried fruits – figs, dates, apricots and cherries rather than sultanas, currants and raisins – soaked in copious amounts of booze. If you make only one Christmas pudding in your lifetime, then let it be this one.

Serves: makes 1 family-sized pudding

Ingredients

50g dried apricots
100g dried figs
100g dates
100g dried cherries
25ml brandy
25ml port
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp nutmeg
75g soft butter
100g light muscovado sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
200g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
50g 70% dark chocolate, broken into chunks
50g white chocolate, broken into chunks
250ml Guinness
Juice and zest of 1 orange

Method

The night before making your pud, put all spices, dried fruit and alcohol in a bowl to soak.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Gradually add the eggs until they are fully incorporated, then gradually mix in flour, cocoa powder and chocolate chunks. Add Guinness, soaked fruits, orange juice and zest and mix well – making a wish for the year ahead as you do so.

Grease and flour a 1.5-litre pudding basin before filling it with the pudding mixture.

Place a buttered disc of parchment paper on top of the pudding, then wrap foil over the top of the bowl, securing it with string or an elastic band. Place in a steamer over simmering water, cover and steam for 3 hours. Do not allow the pan to boil dry: keep it topped up with boiling water.

Once steamed, remove the pudding from the heat and leave it to cool overnight. The next day, wrap the pudding in a clean tea-cloth and store in a cool, dark place.

Once a week, feed the pudding with one tablespoon of brandy: remove the foil and parchment paper and drizzle the brandy onto the surface. Cover the pudding over again and repeat weekly until it is needed. To reheat the pudding, place in a steamer for 90 minutes. Serve with brandy sauce, cream or ice cream.