Christmas Pudding Cheesecake

Christmas and cheesecake; two of my most favourite things, so imagine my delight when I first tasted this culinary marvel last year. Probably the most iconic Christmas sweet combined with one of the most versatile desserts I can think of and I knew I wanted to create my own version for this years festivities. Very rich, very decadent and highly calorific this is not an every day dessert, but hey, it’s Christmas so surely we’re all allowed to indulge? This makes a huge cake which should easily serve 16-18. 

Firstly cook a standard sized Christmas pudding accord to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, turn it out and break it up into little pieces allowing it to cool completely.

Whilst the pudding is cooling, make a start on the cheesecake by melting 100g butter and mixing it into 300g crushed ginger biscuits mixed with 1 tsp of ground cinnamon.  Press into the bottom of a large springform tin and put in the fridge to chill while you make the cheesecake mixture.

Whisk together 300ml creme fraiche, 500 ml Double cream, 100ml Baileys (you can omit this if you want, just replace with another 100ml of cream), 400g full fat cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla bean paste until well combined and nice and thick. Fold in the cooled christmas pudding (making sure it is completely cold otherwise it’ll melt the cheesecake mixture) and spread on top of the ginger biscuit base.  

Chill overnight, or freeze for use at a later date.  Decorate with a spring of holly and serve with pouring cream. Delicious!

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Autumnal Eve’s Pudding with Spiced Toffee Sauce 

I can hardly believe almost six months have passed since my last post. Summer came and went in a whirl and here we are enjoying some of the best autumn weather we’ve had for a few years. Crisp mornings, crunchy leaves underfoot and that rich, low sunshine we only get this time off year. Perfect for hearty warming comfort food and this twist on Eve’s pudding certainly fits the bill. A total mash up between three of my favourite flavours, apples, pumpkin spice and toffee, you’ll have to have some pretty impressive willpower to resist seconds of this indulgent treat. 
Ingredients for the pudding:

3 large bramley apples, peeled cored and finely diced 

350g butternut squash, peeled and chopped

150ml vegetable oil

2 large eggs

250g soft light brown sugar

180g self raising flour

1 tsp bi-carb soda

Pumpkin spice mix made by mixing 3 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 whole grated nutmeg and half a tsp ground cloves. 

For the toffee sauce:

250g butter

250g light brown sugar

400ml double cream 

2tsp pumpkin spice mix

Method:

Put the squash in a bowl with a splash or two of water. Cover with cling film and microwave on high for 5 minutes. 

While it’s cooking grease a large oven safe dish and put the apples in the bottom. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of the spice mix. 

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are the same consistency of a thick milkshake. By now the butternut squash should be tender. Put it in a blender with the oil and whizz until you have a smooth puree. I used my nutribullet which works a treat. 

Fold the flour and bi-carb along with 1 rounded tablespoon of the spice mix into the eggy milkshake before gently folding through the butternut puree. 

Pour the mixture on top of the apples and bake at 160oC (fan) for approximately 50 minutes until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.

To make the sauce, melt the butter, sugar and spice mix together until totally combined then pour in the cream stiring constantly. 

Serve with custard and the toffee sauce! Divine! 

Spiced ginger and date cake

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With the weather having turned and Christmas fast approaching I’ve found myself craving something warming and sweet to enjoy with a cup of coffee mid afternoon. Most days I have the willpower to resist, however this weekend I experimented with a basic ginger cake recipe, tweaking it with spices and dates.

The mini bundts went down well at a family meal served with custard and also the following day at church with a caramel drizzle, but to me, they were slightly dark and more pudding like than cake. So, with the school fair looming in Saturday I made some adjustments and came up with this easy recipe.

Boil the kettle and measure out 250ml boiling water.  In a blender cup (I used my nutribullet) weigh out 75g pitted dates and pour over the boiling water). Put the lid or blade on and leave until cool.

Whilst the dates are cooling cream together 125g butter and 125g caster sugar (I keep caster sugar in a jar with left over vanilla pods to add extra flavour) before adding in one large egg and 225g golden syrup. Beat together until fully combined then sieve in 300g plain flour, 1.5 tsp bicarb, 2 tsp each of ground ginger and cinnamon and half a teaspoon of ground cloves. Add in half a teaspoon of salt to offset the sweetness.

Whizz up the dates, and as the flour is combining with the wet ingredients drizzle in the date water.

Don’t be alarmed at how wet the batter is. Pour it into a well greased bundt tin, (or your tin of choice but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly) and bake for 35 mins at 170oC or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, and a skewer comes out clean.

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Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out.

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Because this particular cake is for the school fair, I baked a smaller cupcake version to cut into to show you the inside…

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Light and moist with a distinct ginger taste yet reminiscent of its delectable cousin the sticky toffee pud.

I plan to make a cheats caramel drizzle for the bundt by simply warming some condensed caramel up and spooning over the top. That can wait until Saturday though.

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Humble (crumble) Pie

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Pie or crumble? One of life’s great conundrums! Now you can have your pie and eat it along with the crumble, all as part of the same pudding. Happy days!

Grease two 8 inch shallow cake tins/or pie dishes, before lining with a thin layer of shortcrust pastry. Homemade or shop bought, both work. I actually used shop bought as I had a block in the freezer I needed to use up. Prick with a fork, then put a piece of greaseproof paper on top of each and fill with lentils, rice or baking beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for twenty minutes or until golden and crispy.

While they are baking, prepare the crumble topping by blitzing 125g of each butter, light brown sugar, and self raising flour in a food processor. It will start to clump together and at this point add in a couple if handfuls of oats and mix with your hands to ensure the oats stay whole rather than being pulverised by the processor.

Leave the pie crusts to cool slightly before filling with cooking apples, blackberries, blackcurrants or whatever fruit you fancy.

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Sprinkle over about 50g of caster sugar then top with the crumble. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the fruit is tender and serve with custard.

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You can freeze one of the pies for use at a later date of you want or give it to a neighbour like we did. Enjoy!

Rhubarb crumble cake

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Rhubarb is one of those vegetables that tastes great in a variety of dishes provided you add enough sweetness to counteract is distinctive tartness. I love it in a crumble, but wanted to make something with it that I could take to church and people could eat easily after the service without the use of bowls and spoons. Cue, the crumble cake. Moist rhubarb sponge, topped with a lovely oaty crumble.

For the cake,  mix 2, 250ml cups of plain flour with 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt. Then mix in 1 cup Greek yoghurt (I used 0%fat), 3 small lightly beaten eggs, and two and a half very long sticks of rhubarb, diced (approx 4 cups).

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The batter will be ridiculously thick, but fear not, during the cooking process all that lovely rhubarb will release its sumptuous juices to compensate for the stiff mixture. Spread it in a greased and lined baking dish.

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Now, put half a cup of cold diced salted butter in a dish with half a cup of brown sugar and plain flour respectively. Add in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and rub together to form breadcrumb like granules. Don’t do it too fine as lumps add texture and crisp up nicely during baking.  At this point mix in a half a cup or so of oats, and sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter. As you can probably see from the pics, my crumble didn’t sprinkle well because I did not have any chilled butter, so had to use some which had been sitting at room temperature, and it never makes good crumble like that, although it will still taste delicious.

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Bake at about 180oC for about 45 minutes, or until the batter is cooked and the rhubarb is softened. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares. Serve with custard or clotted cream if you do desire. 

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Spiced Orange and Yoghurt Pudding

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As you may have already noticed, I’ve mentioned Slimming World in a few of my previous posts. After Christmas I bit the bullet and made a conscious decision to finally try to shift the baby weight, after all, the only thing wearing a bit thin was the excuse with the aforementioned baby actually being a feisty 22 month old toddler!

Before and after 60lb weight loss.  I'm somewhere between the two now.

Before and after 60lb weight loss. I’m somehwere between the two now.

Before getting pregnant I’d had to lose 60 pounds in order to do IVF, and I was the fittest I’d ever been. All the hard work paid off and I was rewarded with a beautiful, health 10lb 4oz baby at the end of it. To my horror though, not only had I gained a baby, I’d also gained half the weight I’d lost back. Anyway, long story short, it’s now time to start shifting it.

Needless to say IVF was a great incentive to stay focussed, but this time I’m struggling. Truth is I love food. I love cooking it, eating it, sharing it, experimenting. Food and entertaining is a huge part of our lives and it’s not unusual for us to have friends over for dinner a few times a week. Is this lifestyle conducive to weight loss? At first glance, no, not at all. However, I don’t think it needs to be that way. With a few swaps here and there good food and even desserts can be factored into a weight loss plan.

Here’s a recipe for a Slimming World Spiced Orange and Yoghurt Pudding which is 4 ½ syns per serving and serves 6.
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This is what you’ll need:
3 Eggs separated
4oz Golden caster sugar
1tsp. Cinnamon
450g Fat free natural yoghurt
Zest of one unwaxed orange
3floz orange juice
1oz Plain flour
1oz Toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 180oC. In a mixer whisk the egg whites and half the sugar until white and fluffy peaks, then spoon into a bowl and set aside.
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Add the eggs yolks and remaining sugar into the mixer bowl and beat until pale and creamy, then add in the yoghurt, cinnamon, orange juice and flour and mix until well combined.
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Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture until all combined and spoon into a lightly greased tin, or oven proof dish. Bake in a Bain-Marie making sure the water is no higher than halfway up the tin. Place in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes until golden on top.
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Scatter over the almonds and serve with a dollop of reduced fat crème fraiche if desired. One thing I will warn you about is using a lose bottomed tin. I thought that if I wrapped it in tin foil before putting it in the bain-marie it would be fine, but some of the water did make it through making the bottom of the pudding a little wet. Next time I’ll stick to a fixed-bottom dish instead.

Enjoy!