Thursday, 19 November 2009

Boozy Christmas Pudding Trifle

Now that it's getting dark by 4pm and the rain seems to take little respite from lashing against the windows, it would be easy to just grab the duvet and curl up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire watching re-runs of Friends for comfort. But I am resolute in my love for late autumn - a mug of hot chocolate awaiting my return from a rain-soaked walk, visits to cosy pubs with real fires, steaming cups of mulled wine - yes, I am a self-confessed lover of this time of year, not least because it can mean only one thing: it's only five weeks till Christmas.

For me, Christmas is about getting together with friends and family, cooking, eating and celebrating just being together. I love planning and cooking a big roast dinner for my family on Christmas day, or thinking about what nibbles to provide at our party for friends the week before. No Christmas cooking challenge is too daunting for me (she foolishly says) - which is why I leapt at the chance to take part in the Matthew Walker Pudding Challenge to create a delicious new dessert from their venerable 'Recipe 13' pudding. All sorts of festive goodies sprang instantly to mind - truffles, ice cream, creme brulee, spicy strudel - but in the end I plumped for a dessert that would take me straight back to my childhood: a good old-fashioned trifle. Christmas is all about home comforts, after all ...

Boozy Christmas Pudding Trifle
Serves 2

1 x 100g Matthew Walker ‘The Pudding’
1 orange, peeled and segmented
Half a pint of custard (3 egg yolks, 25g sugar, 300ml milk)
100ml double (or whipping) cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
Good quality dark chocolate, grated, for decoration

1. Soak the orange segments in brandy for a few hours, or overnight.
2. Remove the pudding from its packaging and slice into 4 pieces.
3. Make the custard sauce: whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy; heat the milk until almost boiled, then whisk half of it into the egg mix; return this back to the pan of milk and heat gently over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens.
4. Place a slice or two of Christmas pudding in a martini glass (or other decorative glass or bowl). Arrange some orange segments on top, along with some of the brandy-juice to soak the pudding. Pour the warm custard over to cover the fruit and place in the fridge to chill for a while.
5. Whisk the cream, icing sugar and brandy together until just firm - not like butter. Spoon the cream over the chilled trifles and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

This is a sure-fire festive favourite. Grab a spoon and dig in!

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