An alternative to Christmas pudding

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I never used to be one for cooking or baking – my university housemates will testify to that. But in recent years I’ve developed a new-found passion for it, and in particular making puddings.

More recently I’ve even attempted my own Christmas puddings after having some old family recipes passed on to me, writes KATE CHAPMAN.

To my surprise they were relatively easy to make – if not a little time-consuming – and tasted far superior to anything bought from the supermarket.

But not this year.

No, this year following our turkey dinner we are going to be dining on a Lincolnshire Carrot Pudding.

I’d never heard of such a thing until recently, when I stumbled across a series of recipes online. But it’s a real thing. The dish is described as a lighter alternative to a traditional Christmas pudding, while still retaining all the taste.

After a bit more web research I wasn’t able to find anything out about the dish’s heritage or origins, but nevertheless we decided to give it a go ahead of Stir-up Sunday, the traditional day for making Christmas puddings, which falls on November 22 this year.

It was relatively straight forward; just a case of mixing the dry ingredients with some grated carrot and potato before binding it all together with an egg, all of which was done with much gusto by my two young helpers Nancy (5) and Peter (3). Then we popped it in a greased bowl as per the cooking instructions.

This is the part where it all came unstuck – after three hours, I put a skewer into the mixture to test if it was done, but it still appeared to be quite wet. So we ended up giving it what turned out to be another three hours – a couple less than suggested when cooking a regular Christmas pudding.

Once it was finally ready, the pudding was paler than its traditional festive counterpart – but as they say the proof of it is in the eating.

The texture was much lighter than our regular Christmas dessert – and although the flavour did not pack quite the usual punch, it was still delicious. In fact after a large festive lunch I think it would be the perfect finale, given that it’s not nearly so dense.

Five empty bowls later and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought so – in fact there were several comments that the Lincolnshire pudding was in fact better than our regular Christmas one (and no I didn’t bribe them to say so!). We enjoyed ours with some custard but I’m sure it would taste just as good with brandy sauce or lashings of double cream.

So, if you fancy a change this year, the recipe is published below. Enjoy.

RECIPE

100g plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp mixed spice

100g suet

100g raisins

100g currants

100g potato, grated

100g carrot, grated

100g Demerara sugar

100g fine breadcrumbs

25g chopped glace cherries

1 large egg beaten

METHOD

* Mix the flour, soda and spice well together. Add all the other ingredients except the egg and mix well and thoroughly. Then add the egg and bind well, if it is a little too stiff, add in a little milk as well.

* Pour mixture into a large greased pudding basin, leaving space at the top as the mixture will expand during cooking.

* Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper and tie with string.

* Steam for three hours.

* Serve with lashings of custard, brandy sauce or double cream.