Monday, 17 October 2016

Vanessa and Gill's Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Christmas Pudding

Vanessa and Gill's Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Christmas Pudding
First of all I have to confess to not liking Christmas Pudding. Anything with candied or dried fruit has never been my thing so I am delegating this one to our fabulous Feisty Tapas Christmas Fairy, Vanessa, and the rather lovely Gill. You will recognise both names from the Feisty Tapas communities. Last year, armed with the recipe that Gill's mother used to make every year, Vanessa made this Christmas pudding and advised a ton of people on theirs. This year we are recording it here for posterity (and adding the link to the Christmas Makes post). Christmas Pudding made easy in your Instant Pot. 

This Christmas Pudding is part of the list of Feisty Tapas Christmas Makes. Have you started your Lime Pickle??

Before I forget, please feel free to play a bit with the ingredients, add things at the back of the cupboard that need using up even.

By the way, Stir-Up Sunday falls on November 20th this year. Only 5 days before the new Gilmore Girls is out (who else is as excited as me?).

What is Stir-Up Sunday? Traditionally the day the pudding mix is prepared and it starts soaking in booze. It is the traditional day for everybody in the family to take a turn at stirring the pudding while making a wish. It needs to be stirred both in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction.

You don't have to wait until Stir-Up Sunday though, you can do it any time before that. Starting now, when you have time in your hands and all the ingredients, that's the time to start your Instant Pot Christmas Pudding. Plus you want to get your fruit soaking in booze for that "plumptiousness".

In fact, NOW is the moment to start soaking the fruit in booze.

These are the stages:

Stage 1: Soak fruit in booze, feel free to have a tipple

Stage 2: Cook pudding ahead so that it has time to mature, feel free to have a tipple and a party, get everyone stirring in both directions, swirls are totally allowed too, above all if you have young children.

Stage 3: Warm up pudding on Christmas day, feel free to have a tipple, or two. Don't forget the Christmas Crackers!

Can you tell I can't really drink on my medication?

So, over to Vanessa:

This recipe was very kindly shared with me by Gill. I believe that her mother used to make it every year. I was not 100 per cent slavish to the recipe which I tweaked here and there (and not only in the amount of festive spirit that I added to it) but I can truly say that this went down exceedingly well. So I will be making it again this year. Thanks Gill!

A  Christmas pudding needs time to mature. Also, depending on the size, you would have to steam it for 5 or 6 hours if you wanted to cook it all at once.

So you make it and half cook it in advance.  Can't remember when exactly I did mine but probably mid to late October last year. Then you wrap and store it until Christmas day or whenever you want to eat it. Then steam it again for the remaining time. 

Mine was a 3 pint basin so pudding required 6 hours total cooking time.
Vanessa's notes: This is how I did it using fresh spelt breadcrumbs which I had in the freezer, luxury mixed fruit from Waitrose instead of just sultanas to which I added the other dried fruit and mixed peel plus a mixture of chopped pistachios and walnuts and also some California prunes and dried cranberries.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Christmas Pudding


Stage 1: October - the boozy soaking stage

225 g sultanas or mixed dried fruit (Vanessa used Waitrose's Luxury mixed dried fruit)
225 g ready to eat dried figs
225 g dried apricots
225 g fresh dates
100g candied peel 
100g crystallised ginger
200ml+ ginger wine (you'll need more to top up)

Stage 2: Stir-Up Sunday, 20th November 2016 (or whenever you have time to stir it up at least 5 weeks before Christmas so that the pudding has time to mature)

225g fresh white breadcrumbs (spelt works)
225 g shelled pistachios, chopped (you can mix with walnuts, chopped)
225 g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice

175g chilled butter
4 eggs

2 tbsp orange flower water
4 tbsp ginger wine
Juice and rind of one orange


2 x 2 pint pudding basins or you could do like Vanessa and do one 3 litre basin and 4 mini ones. The basin needs to fit in your Instant Pot, placed on the trivet and there needs to be a gap around it for the steam to circulate (think about 2 cm if possible so think along the lines of something that is 17/18cm in diameter

Greaseproof paper



Stage 1: October - the boozy soaking stage

Chop your dried fruit, peel and ginger. Soak for at least one week in a mixture of ginger wine and brandy (about 200 ml) stirring every day to make sure all fruit is well sozzled and topping up if it begins to look a bit dry. 

Fruit should be nice and plumptious after this time and smell very festive!

Run out of time for your fruit to soak plenty? Try this tip by the brilliant Catherine Phipps, when she told me about this it was with rum but worth trying for this too (note: I've not tested this): put the fruit in pressure cooker, cover with the ginger wine, press Manual, programme 0 minutes and do a quick release when it finishes.

Vanessa and Gill's Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Christmas Pudding - Stage 2 - Stir-up Sunday

Stage 2: Stir-Up Sunday, 20th November 2016 (or whenever you have time to stir it up at least 5 weeks before Christmas so that the pudding has time to mature)

When ready to cook the pudding, in a large bowl add fruit mixture and combine with breadcrumbs, chopped nuts, sugar and spices. Grate in the butter then add beaten eggs with 4tbsp ginger wine, 2 tbsp orange flower water and juice and zest of one orange. Stir as many times as is customary in each direction! Get the whole family taking part.

Butter 2 x 2 pint pudding basins. Line bottom of basin with a disc of greaseproof paper. Divide pudding mix between basins. Then cover basin with a pleated double layer of greaseproof paper and foil and secure with string.

Place trivet in bottom of inner pot. Pop one pudding basin on trivet. Fill inner pot with boiled water from a kettle until it reaches half way up the side of the pudding basin. Cover and lock lid. 

Give your pudding 15 to 30 mins initial steaming NOT under pressure (steam release handle set to Venting). Then another hour or so steaming under low pressure. That should be enough cooking until you need to steam it again on Christmas day. 

You will need to replace the covering, wrap it in muslin and store it in a cool dark place until then (Vanessa's went under the bed in the spare room!).

Vanessa and Gill's Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Christmas Pudding - the Christmas Puddings in their basins
Vanessa's Christmas Puddings 2015: She used a three litre basin and four mini pudding basins
Stage 3: Christmas Day 

On Christmas Day warm up your pudding in your Instant Pot, or on the stove like Vanessa did. Vanessa actually made one very large pudding (3 pint basin) and 4 mini ones, she tells us: I chose to steam the large one on the stove on Christmas day for three hours as my Instant Pot was busy doing something else. But the choice is yours!!
Questions? You know where to find the Feisty Tapas Christmas Fairy (and hopefully I, Maria, have compiled everything correctly!).

As Vanessa says: make and enjoy! 😊🎄🎄🎄🎄

As I always say: share photos please!!

Let me know if you try it!

Have you joined my Pressure Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas Facebook group? As Instant Pot's social media girl, I also run the Instant Pot® UK Community. If you are wondering about buying an Instant Pot, feel free to send any questions. You can find all my pressure cooker / Instant Pot recipes right here.

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