I’ve never been much of a Christmas pudding fan and when it’s served alongside other desserts such as trifle or chocolate roulade, it’s probably not got much chance to pick up anything other than the bronze medal. Its finest moment of course comes when you pour over the brandy, try to set it alight, doesn’t work, add more brandy, try to light it again and whoosh! Your dining room table along with most of your eyebrows and hair nearly goes up in flames.
In recent weeks there have been articles in the press about the decline of the Christmas Pudding and how most adults would prefer pretty much anything over the traditional Christmas Pud.
I think the heavy nature of a Christmas pudding after you’ve already over-indulged on nibbles, canapés and a never ending turkey feast means you just don’t really fancy it come dessert time.
A few years ago after another untouched Christmas pudding was sent home with a relative at the end of Boxing Day, Dad decided that it was time that the traditional pudding got a revamp.
The following year, we became his guinea pigs and only one dessert was served up, Christmas Pudding Soufflé . There was a look of trepidation across all of the Smith faces; could you really make Christmas pudding as light and airy as traditional sweet soufflé?
I can confirm; the proof is most definitely in the pudding.
The strong flavours of the luxurious dried fruits along with the sweet Christmas spices shine through the light sponge dessert delivering everything you’d desire from a Christmas pudding but without any of the heaviness. The puffy top peaking out over the top of the ramekin, dusted with icing sugar encapsulates everything about Christmas. It’s like a snowy mountain scene in pudding form waiting to be drizzled with extra double cream before the spoon submerges into the dessert and scoops out beautiful light sponge. Just divine!
Whilst I decided to make this dessert for my husband and me on Christmas Eve at home to follow the traditional lasagne normally served up on Christmas Eve at my parents, I’m actually going to make Tom Kerridge’s Spiced Orange cake with Christmas Pudding Ice Cream and Plum Sauce for Christmas Day dessert when we have friends over. I loved the idea of still incorporating the Christmas pudding but this time in a silky vanilla ice cream. Maybe, it’ll become my traditional Christmas day dessert going forward, but it’s got a long way to beat the Christmas pudding soufflé.
3 Egg yolks
65g Caster sugar
250ml Whole milk
1 Vanilla pod, split
15g Plain flour
150g Ready-made Christmas pudding, crumbled
15g Butter, softened, to line the ramekins
9 Egg whites
Icing sugar to dust
For the soufflé base
Whisk together 50g caster sugar and the 3 egg yolks in a bowl until thick and creamy. Then whisk in the flours to the egg mixture.
Heat the milk and vanilla pods together in a pan until boiling. Once boiled, remove the pan from the heat and remove the vanilla pods.
Add the milk to the egg mixture and whisk again.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir over a gentle heat until it has thickened.
Stir in the crumbled pudding to the mixture and leave to cool.
(At this point you can put the mixture into the fridge up to a day before you will use it)
To make the soufflé
Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C.
Lightly brush your ramekins with melted butter in upward strokes which will help encourage your soufflés to bake straight upwards into an impressive soufflé.
Chill the ramekins in the fridge for 5 minutes before brushing them again with butter, followed by an even dusting of the remaining caster sugar.
Whisk your egg whites in a large bowl to form soft peaks.
Spoon half of your Christmas-pudding base mixture into a large bowl and beat in half of the whisked egg whites. Then fold in the remainder of both mixtures.
Spoon the mixture into your ramekins, smooth the tops off with a knife and for a professional finish, use your thumb to make a slight indentation all the way around the inside of the ramekin. This will also help to encourage your soufflé to bake straight up and create an impressive top.
Cook your soufflés in the centre of the oven (make sure you leave room above for them to grow) for about 7-8 minutes and have risen. Keep an eye on them that they don’t spill over the edge which will happen if you over bake them.
Serve immediately (before they deflate!) with a dusting of icing sugar and either some cream or ice cream.