Malted brandy with classic Christmas pudding - what more could you want?
Steamed Christmas pudding:
Generously butter an 8 cup (2 litre) pudding steamer and line the base with a disc of baking paper.
Combine mixed fruit, figs, dates and orange zest in a large bowl. Put the orange juice and brandy in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Pour over the fruit mixture and stir well to combine. Set aside to cool, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Beat the butter, sugar and malt extract with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, and beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together and stir in the breadcrumbs. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the cooled fruit mixture.
Spoon pudding mixture into the prepared basin and smooth the top.
Put 1 large sheet of baking paper on 1 large sheet of foil. Make a pleat in the centre and cover the pudding basin, paper-side down. Secure firmly with kitchen string or the pudding steamer lid.
Place a heatproof saucer or trivet in the base of a large saucepan. Add enough water to come two-thirds of the way up side of pudding basin. Cover saucepan with lid and steam for 5 hours, adding more boiling water as necessary.
To serve, turn hot pudding on to a heated serving plate. Serve with Malted brandy custard.
Malted brandy custard:
Combine custard powder and a splash of the milk in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir to dissolve custard powder.
Add remaining milk, malt extract and sugar and stir to combine.
Bring gradually to the boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the brandy and pour into a warmed heat-proof jug for serving.
If you are strapped for time, you can make the pudding up to 2 weeks in advance. Leave the pudding in the basin and once cool, remove the paper and foil, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
To reheat, recover with foil and baking paper and put the pudding into a saucepan of boiling water as described above. Steam for 2 1/2 hours to heat through.
Exclusive recipe from Saunders Malt.
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