About this recipe:Here's our own version of Heston's hidden orange pudding. This Christmas pudding has a hidden orange in the centre of the pudding which uses traditional French-inspired techniques for confit l'orange, also known as candied orange. The orange is then surrounded by a moist and flavourful pudding containing glacé cherries, dried cranberries and a lovely variety of seasonal spices. Serve with clotted cream, brandy butter or custard.
With a long pin (such as a hat pin), prick the orange all over to ensure that it is very porous. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the orange for 2 minutes then remove and place in cold water for 4 minutes. Repeat three times using clean water each time. This process will help to remove any bitterness from the orange.
Once the blanching step is completed, immerse the orange in a saucepan containing the 1L water, 1kg caster sugar, cinnamon stick and the 2 tablespoons Cointreau®. Bring the contents to the boil then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the orange from the syrup with a slotted spoon and prick again thoroughly all over with a long pin. Return the orange to the syrup, discard the cinnamon stick and leave covered for 12 hours.
The next day, remove the orange from the syrup and set aside.
For the pudding:
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add all remaining ingredients, except the brandy, and mix well.
Grease a large pudding basin then spoon in two thirds of the pudding mixture. Take the orange and push it firmly into the centre of the mould, taking care to make sure that the orange will be completely hidden in the pudding when turned out. Add the remaining pudding mixture on top taking care not to compact the orange too much, it needs to hold its shape.
Cover with baking parchment and tin foil and secure with string. Wrap in muslin and secure with string. Place in a large heavy bottomed pan for steaming. Add boiling water up to half the depth of the pudding mould and steam the pudding for 7 hours, topping up with water when necessary. (You can also make a water bath in a slow cooker and steam on high for 7 hours.)
Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly then slice and serve. Or if you are making in advance, you can pour brandy over the pudding, wrap in fresh muslin and store in the fridge for a month. On Christmas day, steam in the same way for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
If you are a traditionalist and add in a silver threepence or a sixpence to your puddings always warn your guests in advance to avoid Christmas Day dental emergencies!