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My Christmas traditions are all in all very English and certainly aligned to a winter Christmas. I think that I would find it rather strange and a bit of a shock to the system to spend Christmas somewhere warm. Wrapping presents by a roaring fire at my parents’ house, wrapping up warm and going out to a carol service, wearing new Christmas scarves, gloves and hats to church on Christmas morning. It would not be the same done with long, bright sunny days and in summer clothes, but it is something that I’d like to experience one year. Christmas lunch is reassuringly nearly always the same, champagne and smoked salmon whilst opening presents, either a large chicken or turkey with all the trimmings, and then my mother’s Christmas pudding recipe.
Yesterday was stirup Sunday, and is traditionally the day that you would make both your Christmas cake and pudding, I ventured to my local Waitrose, musing about what Christmas must be like for those in a warmer climate, and remembering the slightly disingenuous robin sitting on a snowy branch sent from friends in Sydney one year. This also reminded me that my parents were friends with the then Bishop of St Helena, who had the rather wonderful address of Bishop’s House, St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean, and a last posting date a good few weeks before Stir Up Sunday.
Browsing the ingredients for a traditional Christmas pudding recipe, the plethora of dried fruits, nuts, marzipan, different sugars and decorations I decided to make a pudding suitable for a hot weather Christmas, shaped and with the flavours of a traditional pudding, but as an ice cream bombe. No need to steam the pudding for hours on Christmas day, taking up a ring on the hob, with the risk of the pudding boiling dry as happened one year, and certainly no flaming brandy to take a layer of polish off the dining room table if accidentally spilt from the serving plate.
I am a huge fan of no churn ice cream. They are both simple and speedy to make, only require two ingredients (plus the flavourings) and of course do not need an ice cream machine – just an electric whisk (or a strong wrist). An extra bonus is that depending on the amount you make you usually get some spare condensed milk which can be frozen for the next batch (or just consumed from the pot with a teaspoon).
You can also leave making this until the day before it is needed – just check that there is enough room in your freezer – so is perfect if your holiday plans get cancelled, you get extra visitors or just feel like a change from your usual Christmas traditions.
I nearly always use supermarket own label mincemeat – as does my mother, I find many of the premium brands, or home made versions are completely overly spiced, the olfactory equivalent of a couple of rounds in the boxing ring.
A quick and easy no churn ice cream version of Christmas pudding. For when you want a change from your usual Christmas Pudding recipe.
- 600 ml double cream
- 1 large orange – zest
- 4 tbs brandy
- 300 ml condensed milk
- 300 g shop mincemeat
Double line a 3 pint pudding basin with cling film, using enough to generously hang over the edge. Press the cling film to the inside of the bowl.
Using your stand mixer or an electric whisk, whisk the double cream, orange zest and brandy until it holds a stiff peak. Fold in the condensed milk.
Dollop about a quarter of the mix into the pudding basin and use a spatular to spread it around the inside of the bowl so it is about an inch thick. Use more of the cream mixture if needed.
Place about a third of the remaining mixture into another bowl and set to one side.
Add the mincemeat to the remaining mixture, fold in well and then carefully fill the centre of the pudding basin. Transfer any spare mixture into a tub and freeze.
Spread the remainder of the mixture over the top of the mincemeat center so it is completely encased. Smooth out so the surface is flat. Cover with clingfilm and freeze overnight.
To serve remove the top layer of clingfilm, flip out onto a plate or cake stand and peel the cling film back.
Garnish with holly, cranberries or a sparkler. Ready to eat straight from the freezer, no need to let it soften.