tThe addition of chocolate and cocoa powder adds wonderful depth and complexity to this sweet and fruity Christmas pudding. Fresh pears give it a buttery flavor, while assorted dried fruits add texture and character. Stirred together in one container, they’re easy to prepare and will keep for up to six weeks in the fridge. Flame on the table for a Christmas Day centerpiece, or decorate with Jerusalem artichokes and a few berries. Serve warm with custard or cream.
Raisins, raisins and currants
Candied peel or candied stalk ginger
Light muscovado sugar
Brandy, rum or Grand Marnier
orange Smooth and juicy grated
Dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
egg 4, hit lightly
Fresh white bread crumbs
A sprig of holly
Combine the raisins, currants, currants, chopped fruits and ginger (or peel) in a large saucepan, then add the butter, grated pear, muscovado sugar, brandy (or Grand Marnier or rum), orange peel and juice. Place the saucepan over moderate heat and stir gently from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot and glossy — about 10 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate and immediately remove it from the heat. Stir gently until the chocolate melts, then add the cocoa powder and stir until combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare tub of pudding; Grease a 2-liter oven tray with the extra amount
Preheat oven to 160°C fan/gas mark
When the fruit mixture has cooled sufficiently, add the beaten eggs and stir until combined, then fold in the breadcrumbs. Sift the flour, spice mixture, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl, then add to the fruit mixture and stir until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pudding tub (it will be three-quarters full) and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Fold a fold in the center of the large circle of baking paper and press it gently over the mixture. Cover the pudding with a double layer of aluminum foil and press firmly around the tub to seal.
Place the pudding in a deep baking tray, then place the tray in the preheated oven. Pour just-boiled water from the kettle up to three-quarters of the way up the sides of the tray. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.
If serving on the day, let the pudding cool for about 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven before turning it out onto a serving dish. Garnish with a sprig of holly and some berries, then sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Served with custard or cream.
If making ahead, let the pudding cool completely, then wrap it in a clean piece of baking paper and then aluminum foil. Put it in a reusable plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to
To reheat, remove the pudding from the refrigerator 12 hours before reheating. Place a small stand or upside-down plate in the bottom of the gravy pot, and place the covered tub of pudding on top of it. Fill the saucepan with boiling water up to halfway up the sides of the basin, then cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for about 2 hours, refilling with more boiling water as necessary during cooking time.
Helen Goh, recipe developer and co-author of Sweet (Ebury, £27)