Homegrown: Carrots for Christmas recipes
They’ll add a lighter and sweeter touch
Finish harvesting carrots and store in the fridge’s cool department or boxes of sand for use over winter. They certainly help with the festive cooking: be sure to include them in your festive puddings and pies this year for natural sweetness and a lighter touch.
Gentle cooking combines the flavours beautifully. Cook on a low heat in the oven or on the hob rather than in a slow cooker, if you prefer.
175g (6¼oz) salted butter, diced 780g (27½oz) mixed dried fruit and peel 225g (8oz) soft dark brown sugar 200g (7oz) peeled, cored, firm, unblemished dessert apple 2 carrots peeled and grated,
Mince pies Makes 12 INGREDIENTS
180g (6¼oz) plain flour 120g (4¼oz) cold salted butter, diced 25g (¾oz) caster sugar, plus extra for finishing 1 tablespoon cold water Plus: 12 generous teaspoons mincemeat (see recipe above) 2 fluted cutters (7.5cm/3in and 6.5cm/2½in) and a greased 12 cup tart tin
Preheat oven to 180C (fan ovens) or equivalent. Tip flour into processor bowl. Add butter. Whiz into fine crumbs. Add sugar and whiz briefly. Add on fine side of box grater 2-3 teaspoons mixed spice Finely grated zest and juice of 1 medium orange 150ml (5¼fl oz) rum
Combine everything but the rum in bowl of slow cooker. Cook on medium setting for about 2 hours. Stir in rum and spoon into sterilised jars. water and whiz again. Once large clumps begin to form, remove from machine and bring gently together by hand. Roll out ½cm (¼in) thick on a lightly floured board. Cut out 12 large and 12 smaller rounds. Press larger rounds gently into the tin. Fill with mincemeat and gently firm lids into place. Brush pies with water, sprinkle with sugar and make central hole in lids. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Less in the way of overly sweet stodge and much more in the way of light, vibrant Christmassy flavours: carrot adds natural sweetness and opens the texture of this lovely pudding. Use gluten free flour if you prefer. Steam in the usual way or microwave in a flash.
Sufficient for 1x 2 pint pudding or 2 x one pint ones INGREDIENTS
50g (1¾oz) salted butter, diced 2 tablespoons black treacle 500g (17½oz) mixed dried fruit and peel 2-3 teaspoons mixed spice 1 dessert apple, peeled and coarsely grated 2 small carrots, peeled and finely grated Finely grated zest and sieved juice of 1 medium orange 65ml (2¼fl oz) cider 1 measure of dark rum 50g (1¾oz) plain flour
Melt butter and mix everything together except flour. Cover and leave in a cool place. Next day, stir in sieved flour gradually and transfer mixture to a buttered basin. Fill to an inch below the rim. Cover with greaseproof paper and tie with string. Pleat paper to allow for expansion.
2 pint pudding Cook on full power for 2 minutes and rest for one. Repeat until pudding has had 10 minutes cooking time in total. 1 pint pudding Cook on full power for 5 minutes in total, following instructions above. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before turning out, cool and wrap in greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas. To reheat on Christmas day: unwrap pudding and pop in a buttered basin, cover with clean greaseproof paper as before and tie with string. Cook both sizes of puddings on full power for 5 minutes. Rest halfway through, as above. Leave to stand for 2 minutes before turning out of basin.
Don’t forget to give the whole family a stir when making your Christmas pudding, and make a wish. Stir from east to west to symbolise the journey of the three wise men
Carrots store well for use over winter as a sweetener for many dishes