Cooking is creative and relaxing (for me, anyway) and this week I experimented with making a Christmas pudding and custard which are gluten free and dairy free (so that those going this route can indulge). It does have a liberal dose of brandy, as a Christmas pudding without brandy is a sad thing; and is sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, one of the healthier sweetener options, and medjool dates.
800g fresh medjool dates
2/3 cup brandy (or more, according to taste)
2/3 cup coconut blossom sugar
Juice and a little rind from a large orange
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
100 g ground almonds
100 g walnuts broken into pieces
100 g dried cranberries
Put the dates, brandy, coconut blossom sugar, spices, orange juice and rind into a heavy bottomed pot and melt together on a low heat, stirring occasionally. (A wooden spoon is my favourite implement).
When the dates have softened, and everything is well mixed together, add the remaining ingredients and stir until well blended.
Line a small bowl with baking paper, and press the pudding into it. Refrigerate for some hours, until the pudding takes the form of the bowl.
The pudding can be served hot or cold.
I decorated mine with mint leaves and cranberries. Dousing the pudding with brandy and setting it alight just before serving adds spectacle; the brandy soon burns away, and a liberal helping of custard should put out any persistent flames. ©
500ml almond milk
60g stevia / honey (vary the quantity according to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
50g potato flour or corn flour
I made this custard in my Thermomix, putting all ingredients into the Thermomix, and heating for 7 minutes at 90 degrees on Speed 4. Whisking the ingredients together and heating gently on the stove, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens should produce the same result. ©