TAKE a look at some alternative Christmas treats below courtesy of Mrs Simkins in association with BV Dairy.
Alternative Fruity Creamy Christmas Treats
Frumenty is a Christmas custom well worth reviving: simple, nourishing and wholesome, yet very special, try it with a little cream poured over, an extra sprinkling of sugar and a dash of brandy for Christmas day breakfast. Alternatively, you could leave some in a very low oven to sustain you on your return from Midnight Mass.
Frumenty is a simple wheat porage that’s been around in various forms for centuries. Festivals such as Harvest or Christmas, however, would see it turned into a gloriously luxurious mix of flavours and textures, enhanced with the best of everything: milk and cream, eggs, spices, dried fruit and brandy. This was the early forerunner of our traditional Christmas pudding.
Most recipes use eggs but this version is made without: just plenty of Blackmore Vale Milk from BV Dairy. It’s easy to bake it in the oven like a rice pudding, but you can equally well simmer it on the hob.
Cracked wheat can be difficult to get hold of but bulgar or bulgur wheat works well. Bulgar wheat is very similar to cracked wheat and has the advantage of being partially pre-cooked which means it won’t need several hours of cooking to soften.
225g bulgar wheat
100g luxury mixed dried fruit with peel
1 tablespoon golden granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
700ml (1¼ pints) Blackmore Vale Milk ( whole or semi-skimmed )
Knob of butter
To serve: double or single cream, more sugar and a dash of brandy
You will need a greased baking dish
Preheat oven to 150C (fan oven) or equivalent
Heat the milk until almost boiling.
Mix the wheat, fruit, sugar and salt together, transfer to the baking dish and pour the hot milk over.
Dot with butter and bake for about an hour until the top is browned and the wheat is soft and has absorbed virtually all the milk.
Serve immediately with cream, a dash of brandy and a sprinkling of sugar.
Christmas Pudding Trifle
Here’s an ideal way with leftover Christmas pudding. It’s also a deliciously light alternative way of serving Christmas pudding on the day itself.
Spoon cold Christmas pudding into a serving dish. Sprinkle with a few drops of sherry or brandy and cover with a layer of custard. Top with whipped cream ( whipping or double ) and scatter with flaked almonds.
(For Mrs Simkins microwaveable All Butter Christmas Pudding recipe, drop me an email or check the Mrs Simkins website, see below.)
Figgy Sponge Pudding
‘We all like figgy pudding, so bring some out here . . . .
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here!’
Here’s a light sponge version of the figgy pudding from the well-known Christmas carol. It goes down a treat with softly whipped cream ( whipping or double to complement the toffee sauce: alternatively, you could push the boat out even further and have a lovely dollop of BV Dairy Dorset clotted cream instead. A food processor makes short work of the mixing and chops the dates and figs effectively.
Bake in 4 greased and floured dariole moulds set on a baking tray. Alternatively, for a slightly smaller pudding, grease 6 cups of a muffin tin. If you find figs a little too seedy, you can use all dates instead.
Makes 4-6 puddings
50ml boiling water
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
25g butter, softened
100g soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
A good grated of nutmeg
1 medium egg, beaten
100g mixed dried fruit and peel
Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) or equivalent
Soften and tenderise the dates and figs first: lay them in a flat dish, add the bicarbonate of soda to the boiling water and pour over. Set aside.
Whiz the sugar in the processor to eliminate any hard lumps. Add the butter and whiz until creamed and fluffy. Add the dates and figs, together with the soaking water and the orange zest, and whiz into the butter mixture until fully chopped. Add the golden syrup and whiz to mix. Combine the baking powder and flour, sieve over the mixture and sprinkle in the spices. Add the egg and whiz until everything is combined and smooth.
Remove the processor blade and stir in the mixed fruit. Pour into the prepared moulds or muffin cups (if using individual moulds you may like to encase each one in a little loose tent of greaseproof paper, tied with string, to prevent them browning too much on top).
Bake for 18-30 minutes depending on mould size or until golden brown and risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Sticky Toffee sauce
100g soft dark brown sugar
75ml double cream
1 tablespoon brandy or rum (optional)
Combine the butter, sugar, cream and brandy or rum, if using, in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thick and smooth.
Turn out the puddings and invert: trim the bottoms so the puddings sit flat. Brush the tops and sides liberally with the sauce and take to the table. Serve with the rest of the sauce and plenty of cream.
‘We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’