Star baker Howard Middleton shares Christmas pudding recipe

Howard Middleton. 
Picture by Kirsten Johnson.
Howard Middleton. Picture by Kirsten Johnson.

Sheffield’s star baker Howard Middleton is back on TV next week as the final Great British Bake Off to air on the BBC is screened.

Former show contestant and council worker Howard has shared this recipe from his new book, called Delicious Gluten-Free Baking and published by Little, Brown, with Sheffield Telegraph readers for Christmas ahead of the seasonal special.

Sticky figgy puddings by Howard Middleton

Sticky figgy puddings by Howard Middleton

He said: “If your list to Santa includes a gluten-free and dairy-free pud that’s lighter than the traditional offering and low in refined sugar, this could be a Christmas gift with your name on it.

“It’s worth tracking down chestnut flour for its flavour and obvious seasonal connotations. By all means add a little cinnamon or orange zest if you fancy, but you will lose some of the subtle chestnut taste as a result.

“The caramel sauce takes just a few minutes to make – granted there’s not a lot, but you really only need a little, don’t you?

“If you crave indulgence you could add a scoop of (dairy-free) ice cream; if you crave alcohol you could anoint the puds with Marsala or brandy before pouring on the sauce… or just have a tipple on the

side.

“The puddings dome dramatically when baked, so trim them level if the sight of a wobbly bottom smacks too much of impending New Year diets.”

Howard, who starred in series four of GBBO, will appear on The Great Christmas Bake Off at 7pm on Boxing Day.

It will be the last chance to see judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, together.

The next series is moving to Channel Four, with only Hollywood on board.

RECIPE

Makes four individual puddings using mini pudding tins.

For the puddings

3 tbsp light olive oil, plus extra for greasing

100g chestnut flour, plus extra for dusting

150ml boiling water

2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder

100g dried figs, roughly chopped

2 large eggs

75g coconut sugar

30g ground rice or rice flour

½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp xanthan gum (optional)

For the sauce

35g coconut sugar

2 tbsp date syrup

1 tsp vanilla paste

3 tbsp of non-dairy milk, such as hemp or coconut

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 o C/160 o C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Grease the tins with a little olive oil on a piece of kitchen roll. Dust with chestnut flour and shake off the excess.

3. Dissolve the coffee powder in boiling water and pour over the chopped figs.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and coconut sugar for a few minutes until frothy.

5. Add the chestnut flour, ground rice, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum, along with the figs and all their coffee marinade, and mix well with a wooden spoon.

6. Divide the mixture equally among the prepared tins and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes until well risen and firm on top and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out reasonably clean.

7. Leave them in their tins for 5 minutes, then slide a thin knife around the inner rim of the tins and upturn the puddings onto a plate. Trim the bottoms to level them if you like. (You can make the puddings ahead,store in an airtight tin for a day or two and reheat with a quick blast in the microwave).

8. For the sauce, heat the coconut sugar, date syrup and vanilla in a small pan over a low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the non-dairy milk, bring to the boil, and then simmer until it thickens a little.Pour evenly over the puddings.