A real Christmas pudding you need to start in October. And it should be done on “stir-up Sunday”: That’s the day that everyone starts their pudding. The joke is that the steamed cake should be drizzled with liquor for weeks to come until Christmas. Not only does this preserve it, but the flavor also intensifies enormously.
If you didn’t think to make it in advance, or simply don’t have time to tend a pudding for two months, you can do it like this. Because you make these mini puddings in muffin tins, they are ready more quickly and you immediately have a lot of them. This is the most delicious dessert ever, and it’s ready before you gather at the table. Very relaxed.
Pour the brandy over all the dried fruit in a bowl. Mix in the honey and orange zest and juice. Ideally you’d let this stand overnight, but if you don’t have a night to spare, let it stand for at least 1 hour.
In a bowl, stir the flour with the spices and salt with a whisk, then stir in the breadcrumbs and brown sugar. Rub in the butter with your hands until you get a coarse texture. Scoop in all the soaked fruit and the beaten eggs and stir well.
Cover the tin with a sheet of parchment paper and then wrap thoroughly in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Place the tray in the pan with boiling water in the
Stir the crème fraîche and then stir in the brandy and confectioners’ sugar. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
Unwrap the puddings and reheat in the oven for 20 minutes. Invert them on the counter and arrange on serving plates. Flambé if you wish (see instructions opposite). Scoop a dollop of crème fraîche alongside each and serve immediately.
Heat a few inches of very strong liquor (like cognac, or something with more than 40% alcohol) in a saucepan. Place the cakes in a safe spot, but so that everyone can see them, and turn off nearly all the lights (you still have to be able to see what you’re doing). Hold a lighter above the pan and use a wooden ladle to carefully spoon the burning liquid over the puddings.
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