A top trio of sweet treats

Warm Chocolate Pudding with Rich Chocolate Sauce

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Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding

Warm Chocolate Pudding with Rich Chocolate Sauce

INGREDIENTS

160g good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

200g unsalted butter

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

30g caster sugar

30g plain flour

1 tsp of cocoa powder for dusting

METHOD

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

2. Remove from the heat once fully melted and beat with a whisk until shiny and smooth.

3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together and fold into the chocolate mixture.

4. Sift the flour in bit at a time, folding to achieve a smooth mixture.

5. Brush six metal pudding moulds with melted butter and add a teaspoon of cocoa to one pudding mould.

6. Turn the mould around until the inside is completely coated with cocoa and tip the excess cocoa into the next mould and repeat until all the moulds are coated.

7. Place the pudding mixture into the moulds. These can then be refrigerated for up to 48 hours.

8. Place into a hot oven (175C) for 8 -10 minutes. The puddings should be slightly runny in the centre.

Chocolate Sauce

INGREDIENTS

65g cocoa powder

180g sugar

250ml water

25g unsalted butter

METHOD

1. Mix the dry cocoa and sugar together until all the sugar is coated, this prevents the cocoa going lumpy.

2. Place in a pan with the water and bring to simmer for 4 minutes.

3. Add the butter and whisk until melted and shiny. Boil again and serve with the puddings and a good quality ice cream of your choice.

Christmas pudding

Serves 8-10 portions. Cook in a

1 litre (2pt) basin

INGREDIENTS

100g shredded suet

50g self-raising flour

100g white or brown breadcrumbs

1tsp mixed spice

¼tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

200g soft dark brown sugar

100g sultanas

100g raisins

100g currants

25g mixed chopped candied peel

25g ground almonds

75g cooking apples peeled and chopped

grated zest of ½ orange

grated zest of ½ lemon

2 eggs

70ml barley wine

70ml Guinness

2tbsp dark rum

METHOD

1. Place all the dried fruit, with added candied peel in a mixing bowl, and soak overnight with the barley wine, Guinness and rum.

2. Sift the flour with the mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

3. Add breadcrumbs, suet and sugar to the flour.

4. Drain the fruit from the alcohol. Add to the flour along with the nuts, apple and grated zest.

5. In a separate basin, beat the eggs with the alcohol.

6. Add the dried fruit to the flour, and mix thoroughly with all the other ingredients.

7. Pack into a lightly greased basin, 1 litre (2 pt).

8. Cover with a sheet of silicone and aluminium foil. Secure well.

9. Steam for 8 hours.

10. Remove from steamer and allow to cool, remove foil and silicone, replace with fresh.

11 Serve with rum and brandy sauce.

Stollen

INGREDIENTS (for 2 loaves)

30g yeast

110ml whole milk

340g bread flour

150g butter, softened

45g granulated sugar

1tsp salt

35g candied fruit peel

Zest of half a lemon

Zest of half an orange

225g raisins

50g almonds

25g pecans

25g walnuts

Vanilla sugar

Powdered sugar, for finishing

METHOD

1. Mix the yeast, milk, and approximately one-third of the flour together. Set aside and allow the dough mix to double in size.

2. Combine the mix with the remaining flour, butter, sugar, and salt.

3. Add the fruits and nuts by hand just to combine.

4. Allow the dough to double in size again.

5. Shape the dough into a football shape.

6. Press the centre, the long way, with a rolling pin and roll the dough slightly.

7. Fold one edge to the centre and seal the fold.

8. Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking tray.

9. Prove until 1/3 larger in size then bake at 180C until dark brown.

10. Brush on all sides with melted butter and dredge in vanilla sugar.

Ferstive Tipples

Chateau D'Orignac AOC Pineau des Charentes, France (£15.50 www.thewinesociety.com)

This golden elixir is the perfect sweet brandy to pair with a flaming pud. A blend of eau-de-vie and grape juice from the Cognac region, this Pineau spends at least five years in oak and should be served well-chilled to truly appreciate the zip of apricots poached in syrup and delicate caramel and honey notes.

Chateau Barbier Sauternes 2005, France (£9.99, 37.5cl, www.virginwines.co.uk)

This delectable Bordeaux blonde from an outstanding vintage will complement puddings perfectly. It is pure nectar with potent notes of honey, orange blossom and exotic candied fruits, and the sweetness and richness are balanced by a good acidity on the silky finish.

Brown Brothers Orange Flora Muscat 2012, Victoria, Australia (£7.49, 37.5cl, Waitrose)

Young and ever-so-slightly effervescent, this little gem from Down Under is tinged with tropical fruit with the medley of zesty citrus and subtle spice keeping it fresh, floral and fun. Uber delicious, serve well-chilled for a final flourish with mince pies.

DECANTER magazine have named Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 2001, Spain (down from £17.99 to £13.99 until January 1 at Sainsbury's) their top wine of 2013.

A trio of tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo grapes, it scored 19.25 points out of a possible 20 in blind tastings to earn its top position as both the highest-scoring and best-value wine.

Judges said is was: "A restrained, mineral style with relevant tannins. Youthful and fresh, feminine and complex. Deliciously decadent with extraordinary vitality in the palate and a long finish. A jewel at this price point."

Food and drink

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