• 100g soft salted butter plus extra 25g to grease
  • 75g cranberry and raspberry superjam
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 200g sultanas
  • 100g dried cherries
  • 80mls brandy
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 115g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 grated apple (I used Braeburn)
  • 1 small carrot, grated (about 55g)

We had some good news the other day. We have two more folks coming for Christmas day. Now I know not everyone likes the idea of the crowds descending for the big day. I know for some folks the whole entertaining issue is stressful, demanding prescription drugs and hard liquor. But I really rather enjoy it and I think I have the secret as to why. Here goes…

All you hosts out there holding onto a vision of pinterest Christmas scene heaven; give it up! Accept that a UK Christmas is about crap telly, a few games, loads of food, maybe some of it not perfect at all, family members telling the same old stories year in, year out and of course, fighting over the best Roses/Quality Street. If you happen to be unfortunate enough to have invited someone who thinks things should all look amazing then simply ply them with elderflower liqueur spiked fizz. People notice less when their eyesight is a bit fuzzy. I’m not kidding.

Here’s a great cheat for the big day. It’s less dense than proper Christmas pudding (which no one in my family likes anyway), lighter in colour and flavour, very quick to make and tastes very nice indeed. The syrup jammy topping is not essential but it helps hide the ugliness that is a microwave pudding. My sons loved this very much and if you’re wondering why the top is blue in hue it’s because we used blueberry superjam. So shoot me.

One year ago: Mini Yorkshire pudding canapes and Christmas pudding fizz and Brandy butter icing

Two years ago: Lime meringue pie with chocolate pastry and Christmas scones and Ginger cake with Christmas cottage 

Three years ago: Moonuts and Cheese biscuits and Parsnip soup

Easy microwave Christmassy pudding

Makes 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 100g soft salted butter plus extra 25g to grease
  • 75g cranberry and raspberry superjam
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 200g sultanas
  • 100g dried cherries
  • 80mls brandy
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 115g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 grated apple (I used Braeburn)
  • 1 small carrot, grated (about 55g)

Grease a 1.2 litre plastic pudding basin with the extra butter. Stir the jam and syrup together and pour into the bottom of the basin. Heat the brandy in a small pan with the sultanas and dried cherries until the alcohol absorbs. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices, zest, apple and carrot with the flat beater of the Kitchen Aid or by hand with a wooden spoon until well combined then spoon through the fruit. Fill the basin with the mixture and place a piece of baking paper over the top of the mixture, cut to be a little larger than the circumference of the basin. Tuck the edges down so they pop up slightly at the edges.

Microwave on full power for 9 minutes until firm (test with a skewer – if it comes out with cake mix on then pop back in for 2 mins as all microwaves are different) then stand for another 9 minutes before tipping onto a plate by removing the baking paper, placing the plate over the open end of the basin and then using oven gloves, tipping the plate and basin upside down so that the plate is underneath and basin. Serve with custard or ice-cream.

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