Lighter than the traditional pudding, this very fruity Christmas pudding is packed with flavour and soaked in sherry or brandy and orange juice so it's extra juicy. Served with brandy sauce, it won't leave you feeling uncomfortably full.
Source: Cook Smart for a Healthy Heart, Reader’s Digest Canada
Place all the dried fruit in a bowl. Add the orange rind and juice and sherry or brandy, and set aside to soak.
Grease a 1.5 litre (2 1⁄2 pint) pudding basin and place a disc of parchment paper on the bottom.
Beat together the margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the apple, carrot, almonds and soaked fruits. Sift over the flour and mixed spice, add the breadcrumbs and mix together.
Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and smooth the top. Lay a doubled sheet of parchment paper and then of aluminum foil on top. Fold to make a pleat in the centre, then smooth down around the basin. Tie securely with string.
Bring a steamer or deep pan of water to a boil. Place the basin inside and steam for 3 hours, adding water as needed.
Remove the basin and take off the foil and paper. Cover with a dish towel and cool completely. Wrap in fresh parchment paper and foil. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.
On the day of serving, steam the Christmas pudding for a further 1 1⁄2 hours. To make the sauce, blend the cornstarch with 1⁄3 cup milk. Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling, then pour over the cornstarch mixture, stirring. Return to the pan and stir over medium heat until thickened. Simmer for a further 1–2 minutes, still stirring. Add the sugar and brandy and stir to dissolve. Taste for sweetness, adding a little more sugar if necessary. Turn out the fruity Christmas pudding onto a serving plate. Serve with the hot brandy sauce in a gravy boat.
Per serving: 458 calories, 10 g protein, 13 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 47 mg cholesterol, 72 g total carbohydrate, 58 g sugars, 5 g fibre, 243 mg sodium
The brandy-laced sauce, made with low-fat milk and cornstarch, provides a much healthier alternative to cream or brandy butter.