Pear and amaretto steamed sponge pudding
Dominic Franks shares a delicious festive dessert, a perfect alternative to traditional Christmas pudding.
I have a wonderfully eccentric auntie who, every Christmas without fail, gifts me with a jar of something sweet in an alcoholic syrup.
Some years she’s made it herself and some years she’s bought it. I’m sure you’re familiar with these jars of fruit. They often come in hampers, and will no doubt sit in the back of the cupboard untouched until the use-by date has passed.
Last year, she gave me a jar of pears in amaretto syrup. I absolutely love amaretto so I was determined to use them, and I wanted to develop an alternative Christmas pudding that could be made ahead and simply reheated on the big day.
My pears were from a brand called Opies and they’re widely available, although I’m sure any jarred fruit in syrup would work.
• I’m using two ½-litre pudding basins to make individual puddings, but you could make it in one 1-litre pudding basin.
• Use a small knob of butter to grease the pudding basins. Grease them very liberally.
• In a small bowl, mix the golden syrup with the almonds and amaretto syrup. Divide into two and tip into the bottom of the pudding basins.
• In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, then add the eggs gradually. Fold in the flour, then finally fold in a dash more of the amaretto syrup.
• Lightly dust your pears with flour, then tap them to shake any excess off. This should help prevent the pears from sinking whilst baking.
• If making two smaller puddings, divide the steamed pudding batter into two.
• Spoon half the mix into the pudding basins. Place the pear into the basin with the pointy end facing down (towards the base of the bowl.) Then pour the remaining mix on top.
• Cover the top of the puddings with a double layer of buttered foil and baking paper, making a pleat in the centre to allow the pudding to rise. Tie the foil securely with string. Then place in a steamer or large pan containing enough gently simmering water to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Steam for 1½ hours. Serve with more syrup.
• You can make these a few days ahead and keep them in the fridge. Simply re-steam them for 10 minutes before serving.
Eat and of course, enjoy!