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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand - Mother Teresa

FIG CHRISTMAS PUDDING

I've never forgotten the taste of Heston Blumenthal's fig pudding, which I bought with great anticipation several years ago. Since I happen to adore figs, I thought to replicate this divine creation as a fig pudding with a vegan twist. I’ve added delicious cashew custard, which is perfect chilled for a summer Christmas or warmed if you celebrate Christmas in the northern hemisphere.

Health benefits:

·       Figs are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fibre. They’re rich in minerals and are a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to health and wellness.

VEGAN FIG CHRISTMAS PUDDING 

Use a 1 litre/2 pint pudding basin

V, GF, SF, DF, T

 

For the pudding:

2 cups dried figs, cut roughly with stems removed

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped

1 grated apple

grape juice, for soaking

1 orange, zest

¼ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup coconut nectar

½ cup rice flour or oat flour

½ cup hazelnut or almond meal

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (GF if needed)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch Himalayan salt

1/3 cup boiling water

To make the pudding, steep the figs, raisins and apple in the grape juice for at least 2 hours. Drain the mixture, and keep the juice. Add orange zest, coconut nectar, baking soda, salt and boiling water and stir to combine. In another bowl, add the flours, fresh breadcrumbs, baking powder, coconut sugar and spices, and mix to combine. Mix the wet mixture into the dry until well combined. The batter will be very thick.

Grease the pudding basin, and place a small circle of foil on the pudding bowl to assist a successful easing of pudding after cooking. Spoon the batter into the bowl. Take a large sheet of baking paper and foil, fold in half to make a pleat, and place over the bowl and secure with string. 

Place a jar lid on the bottom of a saucepan, pour boiling water to a depth of at least 4cm (1½ inches), fold a large piece of foil to a width of 5cm (2 inches) and place under the pudding basin (to get the pudding basin out easily), and ease into the saucepan of simmering water. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours. Check the water level frequently, and add water when needed. When finished, store the pudding until Christmas. On Christmas day, simmer again for 1 hour, and serve with chilled cashew custard. Enjoy!

CASHEW CUSTARD

1½ cups cashews, soaked overnight

1½ cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons rice malt syrup

Place the cashews, vanilla extract, orange zest, rice malt syrup and water in a blender and whiz until a smooth consistency is achieved. Spoon into a bowl, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve with the Christmas pudding. If you require warm custard, warm on a low heat before serving.