These are a family tradition of ours and I’m really excited to share them with you. They came about when my mum had a load of left over ingredients from other baking and wanted to use them up. These ingredients were digestive biscuits, dark chocolate, raisins and brandy and the results were sublime. We’ve had them every year since I can remember and mum always gets them out to serve with coffee, over the festive period. Consider this recipe my Christmas gift to you! They don’t even need any baking but the fruit does need soaking for a few days beforehand, although I have a cheat for that too if needs be. These were another item that made it to my Christmas gift hampers.
Ingredients: (Makes 80-100 but you can easily halve the recipe)
- 600 g of digestive biscuits
- 300 g of dried fruit (I used raisins, currants and sultanas, 100 g of each)
- Brandy (a good full glass)
- 150-200g of dark chocolate (I went for 72%), melted
- Icing sugar
- Decorations, optional (I used fondant holly leaves, to make them look more pudding like)
- Soak the fruit in brandy for a few days to a week in an air tight container. Top up with brandy each time it has absorbed it all. Alternatively, gently boil the fruit in brandy for a few minutes, you don’t get quite the same boozy hit in the final result though.
- Crush the digestive biscuits and place them into a large mixing bowl. I wouldn’t advise using a food processor here because you want little chunks of biscuit remaining, as opposed to biscuit crumbs. There are many ways to do this, I opt for crushing them in the mixing bowl, bit by bit with the end of a rolling pin, alternatively you can place them in a thick plastic bag and bash them with something heavy, like a rolling pin, mallet or hammer. Be careful!
- Place the soaked fruit into the mixing bowl with the crushed biscuits and stir.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, on full power but stirring every 30 seconds.
- Pour in about 150 g of the melted chocolate and stir until evenly combined. I find too much chocolate makes them difficult to bind, but not enough and they won’t bind at all. Once you start making them, if they absolutely won’t bind together then add a little more chocolate, bit by bit.
- To make the puddings use two spoons to scoop up a tablespoon of mixture and then using your palms, the spoons or a combination of the two, squeeze the mixture until it begins to form a compact ball. Mine are never particularly round but I think I added a little too much chocolate this year (the full 200 g) which made them be a bit of a pain.
- Place your formed puddings onto a tray and then once you’ve made them all, pop them in the fridge to set.
- After half and hour or so, make the icing but mixing a cup of icing sugar with water, 1 tsp at a time until you have a thick white icing, and pipe it into the puddings. The perfect consistency icing will spread out slightly but not pour everywhere.
- Once iced, place them back in the fridge to set whilst you make the decorations. Chopped green and red glacé cherries work, as does writing icing or fondant, or you can just leave them as they are.