This showstopping Christmas pudding is made even more impressive by the fact that it is gluten-free! Packed full of fruity, zesty flavours with the crunch of pecans and the luxurious hit of brandy, this dessert is sure be a blazing hit.
- Wrap the butter in foil and put in the freezer. Peel and coarsely grate the apples. Put in a bowl and stir in the sugar, spice, orange zest, cranberries, dried fruit and nuts.
- Cut the crusts off the bread and break into chunky pieces. Blitz into crumbs in a food processor (you will need 100g breadcrumbs for the pudding). Tip the breadcrumbs into the bowl with the fruit and add the flour.
- Coarsely grate the frozen butter onto a board. Tip into the fruit mixture and toss together with clean hands until the grated butter is well combined with the rest of the ingredients.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the cherry brandy and orange juice. Stir into the mixture until thoroughly combined. The pudding should look fairly soft and drop readily from the spoon. Cover the bowl with cling film and put in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight if possible.
- Butter a 1.2 litre pudding basin and line the base with a small circle of nonstick baking paper. Tip the pudding mixture into the basin and smooth the surface – the mixture should be around 2cm below the rim of the basin.
- Take a large sheet of nonstick baking paper and place on the work surface. Cover with a wide sheet of tin foil. Fold a 3cm pleat in the centre and then use to cover the top of the pudding basin. Tie kitchen string around the basin to secure the paper and foil.
- Place on a trivet, wide biscuit cutter or upturned saucer in a very large saucepan and add enough just-boiled water to rise halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring to a gentle simmer on the hob. Cook for around 6 1/2 hours, topping up the water when necessary. (You can start it off early on Christmas morning ready for lunch.)
- When the pudding is cooked, remove the basin carefully from the water and stand for 2 minutes. Snip off the string and remove the foil and paper. Loosen the sides of the pudding with a round-bladed knife. Invert the pudding onto a warmed serving plate. Serve hot with brandy butter and chilled double cream.
- (If making ahead, cool completely then cover tightly with clean baking paper and foil. Store in a cool place for up to two weeks before serving. Heat in the microwave, without the foil, according to the manufacturer’s instructions or steam as above for 2 1/2 hours until hot.)
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. Always defrost and heat thoroughly before eating. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.
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