Recipe: Man-Pa’s Christmas Pudding Ice Cream.

What with the New Year’s bank holiday out of the way, it feels like the Christmas period is well and truly over.

What a very sad time it is, when the days of legitimate Hoggery are finally at an end.

There are plenty of things I’ll miss from the festivities: Ma Hog’s homemade Mince Pies; steaming glasses of Hot Buttered Rum; the crunchy chew of a light-toasted Pudding; pots of cold Custard, lining the worktop.

It pains me to think that I won’t see most of these goodies again until next December, though I suppose that’s partly what makes them so special.

Then again, there are some treats I’m not sure can wait…

One of this Christmas’s more major (and moreish) highlights was a bowl of Christmas Pudding Ice Cream, made by the fair hands of Man-Pa (he of Summer Pudding fame).

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

O, Holy Pud!

The die-hard Ogglers among you will remember me mentioning this particular treat way back in 2011. In fact, you could argue it was what got the Pud-Hog Blog going in the first place: so enamoured was I with this Ice Cream, that I felt compelled to tell the world about it.

Anyway, just a fortnight ago, I was thrilled to be served it again – and this time it tasted even better.

Apparently the formula had changed: out had gone the Breadcrumbs, to be replaced by Meringue and luxury jellied Fruit Pastilles, of the type you can find in the fancier delicatessens.

The resulting taste and texture were extraordinary: sharp bursts of sugared Fruit; boozy Raisins, Dates and Peel; crunchy fragments of Meringue, and the softest, creamiest base you could wish for.

My delight secured me the recipe – so, thanks to the Man-Pa, you too can enjoy this magnificent medley at home.

It’s easy and fairly quick – and, I swear, yule never have better.

I defy you to wait until next December…

Man-Pa’s Christmas Pudding Ice Cream (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Fruit Stuff…

  • 80g raisins and/or sultanas
  • 80g dates
  • 80g candied peel
  • Some brandy or rum to soak the fruit
  • Finely-chopped fruit pastilles (preferably upmarket ones; gelatin-free)

… and for the Ice Cream:

  • A few nutmeg shavings
  • Generous half tsp ground ginger
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla essence (depending on your tastes)
  • 1 tsp coffee essence (make your own with half a tsp instant coffee granules and same amount of boiling water)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks OR 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 2-4 cloves (again, your taste dictates)
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 medium/large crushed meringue

Method:

  1. Mix the Fruit Stuff together and set to soak in the brandy or rum
  2. Heat ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon in a small saucepan for a few minutes…
  3. Then in with the cream, vanilla essence and coffee essence. Bring gently to the boil
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a medium-sized bowl
  5. Strain the cream to remove the spices. Tip cream into the sugar and egg mix and whisk together before heating again – slowly – in a clean pan for no more than 10 minutes until it thickens slightly
  6. Take off the heat and chill for at least 2 hours (or overnight, if you have the time)
  7. Strain the cream mix into a freezable container and freeze for an hour or two until it starts to thicken. Stir every half hour to break up the ice crystals (NB: clingfilm on top of the ice cream will prevent it turning brown if it’s going to be in the freezer for a week or more)
  8. Defrost for about half an hour before serving so it’s nice and soft to eat
  9. ENJOY

Happy Hogging – and thank you to Man-Pa for sharing!

P-H x

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The Pud-Hog’s Pud of the Year: Top 10 Homemade Puddings.

Yes, I have my share of disasters in the kitchen. But sometimes – sometimes – things work out rather well.

Below are this year’s classic home-cooked champions (excluding the Christmas Buns, that is – they arrived too late in the day).

With the exception of Numbers 5 and 8, all the recipes are available on this website – so if you like the sound of them, get into the kitchen and BAKE.

10. Pud-Hog Slob Slop

Mush

It’s hardly the most beautiful of bowlfuls – but is definitely the quickest lump of comfort food I’ve ever made.

Gooey, milky, warm and sweet, all it takes is a microwave and some very basic ingredients.

Customise with a dollop of Jam, Honey or Salted Caramel, and your stomach will greet it with glee.

Get the Pud-Hog Slob Slop recipe here.

9. Yum Rum Balls

Salvation!

Baking gone bad? Don’t throw your cake crumbs away: recycle them into a box full of chocolatey, boozy balls.

Good for presents – even better for personal piggery.

Get the Yum Rum Balls recipe here.

8. Marmite Chocolate Cupcakes

ChocMar3

An invention of supper club hostess MsMarmitelover, I tried these out a few months ago and promptly fell in love with them.

Along with the richness of those moist sponge bases, their indulgent Marmite-flavoured cream and frosting make these more like miniature puddings than cupcakes – have more than one and you’ll probably need to lie down.

Perfect for lovers of salty sweetness (and die-hard Marmite fans).

Get the Chocolate and Marmite Cupcake recipe from MsMarmitelover’s website (it’s the second one down on the page…)

7. Dessert Tortillas

Banana Tortilla

SURELY the next sweet sensation?! A warm, freshly made Tortilla (plain- or Cinnamon-flavoured), stuffed with whatever you fancy.

I ate mine with Chopped Banana, Cinnamon Cream and Brown Sugar and it was AWESOME – quite possibly my favourite breakfast treat of the year.

They even freeze well too…

Get the Dessert Tortilla recipe here.

6. Orange and Dark Chocolate Buns

Finito

As you regular Ogglers know, in the last few months I’ve become rather obsessed with making Buns. These Orange and Dark Chocolate bad boys were my first yeast-based experiment, and boy did they do me proud.

A super soft dough, thick chunks of Dark Chocolate, and the zing of Orange extract…

Who wouldn’t want to shove one in their Bun-hole?

Get the Orange and Dark Chocolate Bun recipe here.

5. Cinnabon Substitute

Cinnabon

This recipe was introduced to me by my pal Mimi after both of us caught the Cinnabon bug.

In an effort to recreate that gooey Cinnamon goodness at home (avoiding the high prices – and at least some of the naughtiness), she found an alternative on the web and brought round the results.

They were truly wonderful: so squishy and well lubricated (both with Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Butter) that they squelched with every bite.

Trust me, folks: if you don’t have a Cinnabon in your vicinity, these are the next best thing.

Get the Cinnabon Substitute recipe from the All Recipes website.

4. White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondie

The beast lies dormant. Don't be fooled.

This could well be stickiest, naughtiest thing I’ve made (nay, eaten) since embarking on this blog. Even when cooked it comes out part-baked, with a strata of White Chocolate syrup beneath its caramel-coloured crust.

Even so, in my humble opinion, it’s the texture that Blondies should be: wet, crisp, and chewy – with added textural variation from the jewel-like Cranberry chunks.

Just make sure you have a spoon ready – or things could get very messy.

Get the White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondie recipe here.

3. Raspberry Cheesecake Blondie

Blondie LayersIf No.4 wasn’t exciting enough, how’s about serving your Blondie as part of a Cheesecake?

Overkill, you say?

You couldn’t be more wrong.

This majestic creation consists of three of the tastiest tiers you can imagine: on the bottom, a gooey White Chocolate slab; on the top, a tart Raspberry Cream; and between them, a layer of thick cooked Cheesecake.

Having toned down the levels of sugar involved, the final product was thankfully not oversweet – more a complementary balance of Berries and Chocolate.

Though I say so myself, It looks rather splendid too…

Get the Raspberry Cheesecake Blondie recipe here.

2. Hot Buttered Rum

Golden Delicious

This recent addition to my repertoire blew my mind back in October.

Being my first encounter with sweet buttered drinks, it was destined to make a pretty big impression.

Having entered my world via Choc Tales (a Chocolate and Cocktail event held in Dean Street) its creators (Manhattans Project) were kind enough to keep it there by passing the recipe this way.

If you haven’t yet tried it, you must. Every mouthful is like nectar: a beautiful blend of Rum, Butter, Apple Juice, Golden Syrup and warming Spices.

On Christmas Day, it’ll be my tipple of choice.

Heck. On every day it’ll be my tipple of choice.

Get the Hot Buttered Rum recipe here.

 

1. Peach, Almond and Goat’s Cheese Cheesecake

Regardez... and try not to dribblez

LOOK AT IT.

Isn’t it glorious?!

I still can’t believe this was made with my own fair trotters – but made with my own fair trotters it was.

The Pud-Hog Blog aside, this is by far my proudest creation in the last twelve months, and not just for its snazzy yellow pattern.

Inspired by food from the south of France, its ingredients work in (surprisingly) perfect harmony: the Almond Biscuit bottom, the sweet Goat’s Cheese, White Chocolate and Honey insides, the juicy slivers of Peach adorning the top…

SUPERB.

While Goat’s Cheese is usually not my favourite flavour, in this it works wonders – but I guess you’ll have to try it to believe it.

Light, creamy and full of zing – get the recipe here and feel free to send me the results.

HAPPY HOGGING!

Recipe: Christmas Buns.

Tired of Mince Pies? Prefer something… doughier?

Then get your chops around the Pud-Hog’s Christmas Buns.

I made some last night with a jar of old Mincemeat (left over from 2011), plus a generous sprinkling of Mulled Spice Sugar (a special mix sold by Steenbergs, infused with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice and Clove).

They turned out to be a textural triumph: extremely soft, extremely juicy, and crisp on the top with a layer of baked spiced Sugar.

In fact, they could well be the best Buns I’ve made – and given the taste of my Orange/Dark Chocolate variety, that’s a fairly major accolade, I assure you…

Christmas Buns (makes 6 big ‘uns)

Christmas Buns

Naughty AND Nice

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 120ml warm water (a mixture of half boiling and half cold)
  • 7g dried yeast (approx one sachet)
  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 40g melted butter/vegetable fat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Filling and Top:

  • 400g mincemeat (vegetarian, ideally)
  • 30g mulled spice sugar, approx (or normal sugar with 2 tsp allspice if you can’t get hold of the Steenbergs blend)
  • 20g butter/marge

Method:

  1. Stir the yeast and warm water in a jug/cup and leave somewhere warm to react
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the other dough ingredients together
  3. When the yeast/water mixture is starting to get nice and frothy (after about 10 mins), pour it into the rest of the dough and incorporate with a spatula
  4. Before the water has the chance to get cold, quickly take out the dough and knead on a floured surface for 10 mins (until the dough is ultra smooth and springy)
  5. Return the dough to its bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (i.e. 60 to 90 mins)
  6. Take out your risen dough and lay to rest under a tea towel on a floured surface for 10 mins
  7. Roll out into a rectangle (approx 10 x 8 in inches, or 25 x 20 in centimetres)
  8. Spread the mincemeat evenly over the surface, making sure to cover the dough right up to the edges
  9. Cut your rectangle into 6 strips (a strip being 8 inches/20cm long) and roll each one up into a coil (with the mincemeat on the inside, obvs)*
  10. Place in a large floured baking tray
  11. Melt the second batch of butter/marge and drizzle the top of each bun with about a teaspoon’s worth. Then sprinkle a liberal teaspoon or two of mulled sugar on top of this (depending on how sweet you want the final product)
  12. Cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for another 30-40 mins
  13. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees
  14. Bake in the centre for approximately 25 mins, or until golden and cooked through
  15. Place on a wire rack to cool
  16. DEVOUR – still warm, if possible (just don’t burn your tongue on that mincemeat)

Happy Ho-Ho-Hogging!

P-H x

[* NB: since sharing this post a few pals have suggested rolling the dough up first, then cutting it into 6 portions.

If you want to save time then go for it – but I like the less uniform shapes that come out when you roll each one up individually.

As a wise man once said, the choice is yours…]

Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum.

Best of the bauble-warmers

Best of the bauble-warmers

Remember that time I wrote about Choc Tales? And that barrel of hot Buttered Rum?

Well, as I mentioned on the bottom of that post, the recipe came from a place called Manhattans Project – and, to my utter delight, they were nice enough to let me put it on here (thanks, guys – I am indebted!).

If you make it, you’re in for a treat: the resulting Cocktail tastes just like warm liquid Toffee Apples, with the added extra bonus of salt (from the Butter) and booze (from the… er… Rum).

Serve it up on a cold, crisp night – or all through Christmas Day if you have to (beats Mulled Wine hands down, as I’m sure you’ll agree).

So rich and delicious is the Syrup and Apple Juice mixture, you could even get away with making a Rum-free version (an excellent choice for underaged Butterbeer enthusiasts – or folks with a tight drinks budget).

Anyway, that’s enough of an intro, methinks…

TO THE RECIPE!

Hot Buttered Rum (makes enough for 5-6 decent glasses…*hic*…)

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1ltr apple juice (the best quality you can afford)
  • Approx 250ml rum (I used white – but brown would be scrumptious too, no doubt)
  • 125g butter (salted, ideally)
  • 100ml golden syrup
  • 25ml treacle
  • 1tsp allspice (mixed spice works well too if your cupboards are lacking)

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat the apple juice over a medium-high flame, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to stop anything burning
  2. As it warms, add the butter in chunks and stir the syrup and treacle into the mix
  3. Once everything’s melted in, add the spice
  4. When the drink gets to around 80 degrees (i.e. hot but not quite simmering), turn off the heat, start ladling it into glasses and add the rum. The ratio is 4 parts mixture to 1 part rum (in other words, 1ltr of mixture needs about 250ml of booze). WARNING: be extra careful pouring the hot liquid in at this stage – if the glass is too thin there’s a risk it might break. If you don’t think your kitchenware can take it, try mugs instead
  5. Use cinnamon sticks as fancy stirrers, and GET MERRY

NOTE: If you don’t use all your mixture in one go, keep it in the pan with the lid on and reheat as and when required. Just make sure you stir it well when you’re ready to serve.

Happy Grogging!

P-H x

Recipe: Gooey Chocolate Spice Cake.

Warning: this goes down easily

Remember my Veggie Marshmallow disaster? And the violent cake punching that followed?

Well, on Monday, it was time to restore the balance, and finally make something great with my failed Mallow Mix.

This time, instead of that gross Cocoa Powder, I knocked up a cake using something that was proven to be tasty: a pot of Christmas Drinking Chocolate from Steenbergs (tested last week in a mug of hot milk – just what the doctor ordered).

The resulting bake was the goo-filled triumph I’d longed for, flavoured with Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Vanilla; all the spices you need as the nights draw in.

Though I do say so myself, the texture was particularly awesome (so much moisture) as well as being pretty darn unusual. It was the Agar Flakes what done it, making the whole thing slightly bouncy; like a Chocolate Blancmange had been spliced with a Sponge.

Ogglers, I urge you to try it.

Serve hot with Crème Fraîche or Vanilla Ice Cream (not to mention a dollop of Salt Caramel Sauce), and ready yourself for a hearty, Hoggish wallowing…

Gooey Chocolate Spice Cake (serves 8)

For munching, not for punching

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 230g sugar
  • 100g softened butter or vegetable spread
  • 40g spiced drinking chocolate (either Steenbergs, or your own blend)
  • 170g plain flour
  • 160g milk (semi-skimmed worked for me)
  • Half tsp baking powder
  • Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3g agar flakes

You will also need a greased 20cm springform cake tin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (gas mark 3)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter/spread and sugar together until creamy
  3. Add the egg yolks and stir
  4. Sift flour, drinking chocolate, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into bowl. Add the agar flakes and beat well, gradually adding the milk as you go, creating a mixture that’s smooth and lump-free
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Then fold this carefully into the chocolate mixture, until all the whites are fully incorporated
  6. Pour gently into your tin (so as not to knock out all the air) and cook in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes. When it’s ready, the top will be firm and risen, with a slight wobble underneath. Without the wobble you won’t get the goo…
  7. Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a wire rack
  8. Serve while warm for a tasty post-dinner (or post-breakfast) treat

Happy Hogging!

Florentine Butter.

I did a pudding stock-take in the kitchen last night, and quickly rediscovered the huge log of florentine butter I made at Recipease pre-Christmas. I must have produced a kilo of it at least – a squidgy brown mass of butter and sugar, mixed with chocolate, brandy, almonds and fruit. I poked my nose into the greaseproof paper. It smelled divine.

When it comes to food, I live in mortal fear of mould – and even eating things past their best makes me sad. So it seemed about right that, after over a month untouched in the fridge, the florentine butter should come out and meet its maker.

The question is, what does one do with a large lump of sweetened alcoholic butter? We don’t have any Christmas puddings left, so that option wasn’t available. Besides, I think it would have been too rich (I prefer cream or custard with my Xmas pud – not a ladle of thick brandy sauce). 

My common sense told me that florentine butter should not be had on its own; that something so fatty should probably be eaten in moderation, tempered with something more savoury. Still, I broke a chunk off and sucked it just in case. As I did this I started to wonder: if common sense is always right (which common sense tells me it is), then why did this pure fatty butter taste so good? The booze… the dark chocolate… the granulated lumps of sugar… I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t devouring a chocolate bar: I was filling my mouth with fat. Silly Pud-Hog! You can’t just eat butter on its own, can you? CAN YOU?

Unsettled by this crisis of right and wrong, I quickly thought up a solution. After all, what’s the most normal way to eat butter? On bread, of course! And so I popped a pitta in the toaster, waited until it was steaming hot, then cracked it open and filled it à la Pud-Hog: straining under the weight of florentine butter. Much more acceptable. Never mind the extra calories from the bread: if this is what polite society expects for its butter, then this is what I must do.

Still, as delicious as the combo was (like a warm Nutella sarnie infused with the spirit of Christmas), I must admit it felt weird to finish dinner with a sandwich. It just didn’t seem very… pudding-y. If the bread was swapped for biscuit, however, then that might float my boat a little higher. Mind you, even then, I can’t help thinking: this florentine butter’s about 95% fat. And that does seem like a lot…

Good thing there’s only a kilo to get through, I suppose.

Cranbo Soz…

…or cranberry sauce, as the purists would have it. I’ve never really liked the stuff myself. For too long I’ve associated cranberries with the bladder ailments of (somewhat slutty) housemates past (none of whom will ever read this blog, thank goodness). Besides, I don’t eat turkey – or any other kind of meat for that matter – so it’s never seemed like anything I would want.

Until I made my own. As you regular Hog Blog Ogglers will know, in December I went on a cookery course at Jamie Oliver’s ‘Recipease’ and made a load of edible Christmas gifts. One of these was cranberry sauce (infused with orange peel and thyme) and I left my lesson with a fairly substantial jar of it. Not wanting to lug it all the way to mum’s house in my suitcase, I kept it in our fridge at home.

Cranbos. Not just for ho hos.

For ages I had no idea what to do with it. So I searched the web for some good, veggie-friendly ideas, and came across the idea of incorporating it into my breakfast.

My dears, it turns out that cranbo soz is a breakfast sensation! Many of you will have some left over from Christmas I’ll bet, so why not try it out on something new? My favourite combinations so far:

  • Swirled in natural yoghurt and dolloped on granola or muesli
  • Popped in a bowl of hot porridge, along with a sprinkling of cinnamon and almonds
  • Slathered on pancakes with cold stewed apple

Look. I swear, this stuff is wasted on turkey, so why not spare the poor birds next year? Carve up the Christmas Porridge instead – then we’ll all be gobbling happily.

The January Pile-Up.

You wait for weeks for just the right pudding, then suddenly they all appear at once. With the Christmas holidays over, my cupboards are groaning with gifts and goodies. No longer is pudding a treat: it’s a necessity. There’s almost no room to store anything else.

In the last few days, my boyfriend and I have acquired the remainder of the chocolate pumpkin cheesecake (plus a bowl full of the filling), a tin of homemade meringues (a Christmas gift from his mother to me), two packets of M&S dessert cookies, butterscotch-covered nuts, praline sauce,  a hefty bag of dark chocolate buttons, and numerous boxes of chocolate and biscuits. All this on top of the pre-existing log of florentine butter, vat of homemade lemon curd, and slowly diminishing pile of Pop Tarts.

I’m starting to think that I  might have a problem – some kind of pud-hoarding obsession. With the kitchen already chock-a-block, last night I bought eight cartons of rice pudding (to be eaten imminently) and three jars of cheap mincemeat. I had to be dragged from the store before I snaffled some marked-down cartons of cream. It pains me to resist a bargain.

Later, having repented for my splurge, I lay awake wondering how best to deal with this mountain. ‘Eat it!’ you might shout, but it’s not that simple.

For starters, I have to tread carefully. If I gorge on these puddings too quickly, not only will I not enjoy them, but my pancreas will pack its bags and slither from my body. No. A stockpile like this requires forward-planning: get the timing wrong, and something will go mouldy. So. Let’s do logistics. The rice puddings and cheesecake have got to go first, so that’s the next few days sorted. I want the meringues while they’re still fresh and crispy – so maybe I’ll mix them with big blobs of curd… or praline sauce… or a tub of melted chocolate. I have grand plans for the mincemeat too – but as it’s sealed, those plans can wait. As for the chocolates and biscuits, I expect they will sweeten my lunchtime for weeks to come.

When puddings have deadlines, it can be stressful. They’re supposed to be special, after all – no one wants wants to feel that they’re compulsory.  Then again, anything’s better than throwing food away: there’s nothing more heinous than that.

I’m sure we’ll get through it, eventually. I’ll just have to force myself not to get anything else…

Christmas Part Two.

The feasting is over and my belly is bulging – but it was worth it.  After three days of anticipation, my cousin finally brought over his panettone pudding: a sinful dish which, under its crisp toasted topping, was the most delicious mess of cream, dried fruit, sugar and soggy panettone. When the spoon is dripping as much as my mouth, I know the pudding’s going to be good – this was no exception.

Then there was my grandmother’s trifle – my death row dessert, if anyone asks. I’ve been known to eat the whole thing on my own, but once again I overdid it in the mains department (too much curry and naan bread) so I let myself down with just one helping. But, oh! Those juicy berries! That wobbling mass of jelly! Such thick vanilla custard!  And wondrous globules of sponge! So sloppy and exciting, I closed my eyes to savour it all the more.

But now it’s all gone for another year… Or until the weekend, when we’re planning a big New Year’s Blow Out. My suggested theme was 2,012 puddings, but that’s probably pushing it, even for me.

Probably.

Christmas Part One.

Whew! The Great Christmas Chow Down is still underway, so I’m planning this to be another quickie.

An overabundance of my cousin’s roast potatoes took up most of my stomach space (I finally stopped at nine, but could’ve had more), so my options for pudding were slightly restricted. Still, I couldn’t help but sample:

  • The M&S Chocolate Christmas Pudding (with ice cream and thick vanilla custard)
  • Lidl’s own version of Guylian’s praline seashells (5 stars, Lidl. You did me proud)
  • A few mini chocolate-covered florentines
  • One of Granny’s homemade mince pies

No time for in-depth analysis right now, as there’s plenty more to follow.

I love this time of year.