Home­grown: Car­rots for Christ­mas recipes

They’ll add a lighter and sweeter touch

Garden News (UK) - - Contents -

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.

Christ­mas mince­meat

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.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

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

METHOD

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

METHOD

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.

Christ­mas pud­ding

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

METHOD

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.

TO MI­CROWAVE:

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

Ph ot os : Su e Si m ki ns

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