Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 Days of Christmas - Anne Gracie

Isn't the race up to Christmas speeding along? Already we're at Day Five of:

The 12 Days of Christmas
Food and Romance
Blogging Extravaganza! 

I'm so excited about all my TDoCFaRBE guests, but today's guest especially. I'm a proud alumni of Anne Gracie's "How to write romance" class and a bit of a fangirl too. "The Perfect Rake" stands in my eyes as one of the most perfect regency romances ever! Since that fateful class that set me on a journey, I've had the good fortune to get to know Anne a little. I know she's not only an amazing writer, but a lovely person who's very generous with sharing her wisdom and knowledge.

Today Anne's sharing her wisdom and knowledge on a cheat's version of Christmas pudding which sounds absolutely delicious for non-pudding fans (like me!). I'm going to have to give this one a try. (And I'm going to need a new wardrobe of clothes the next size up in order to cook and eat all the delicious recipes I'm seeing in the Extravaganza!)

Christmas food
by Anne Gracie

I’ve always loved Christmas, and generally do the whole traditional thing — seafood starter, followed by the hot roast dinner — roast pork with crackling, and turkey, with crispy roast potatoes, baked pumpkin, green beans and a dish my mother always made which was made up of sliced tomatoes and onions in alternating layers with a layer of fresh breadcrumbs and butter dotted over the top so it forms a toasty crust. Mmmm, simple but so yummy and easy. I sometimes add fresh herbs, but really, it’s very good just plain. And it’s nice cold, too.

And then there’s the pud. I love plum pudding — my grandmother always made the best, and then my brother-in-law took on the making of the family pub, but this year I’m going for a departure — I’ve decided this year I’m having a cold pudding, partly because a few people who’ll be at my Christmas dinner this year actively don’t like traditional plum pud (shocking, I know!) and partly because my friend, fellow author Barbara Hannay, made an ice-cream Xmas pudding last year and it sounded easy and yummy, and I’m all for that at Christmas.

500 grams of Christmas pudding
I kg vanilla ice cream
pinch of allspice
400 ml pure cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
100 g butter, chopped

Crumble Christmas pudding into coffee bean size lumps, either by hand or with food processor. Thaw ice cream slightly, then, place in a large bowl and mix in pudding crumbles by hand (latex gloves are recommended as protection against the cold). Spoon mixture into prepared dish lined with plastic wrap. Cover and place in freezer for at least 30 mins, or until firm.

Meanwhile stir cream, sugar, allspice and butter in a heavy based saucepan over medium low heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a smooth caramel sauce forms.

Turn ice cream pudding out onto a chopping board. Remove plastic wrap and place slices of pudding on serving plates . Spoon warm caramel sauce over.

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it, but I can never follow a recipe exactly and I might play around by adding extra things to the mix. I’m thinking some extra fruit marinated in grand marnier or something similar. And I’ll probably serve it with some fresh fruit as well. And maybe a fresh raspberry sauce instead of the caramel. We’ll see.

And I must confess that this gorgeous photo was taken by another writer friend, Marion Lennox, who made a variation of the ice-cream pudding with fresh mangoes and crunchie bars instead of crumbled pudding. I might have to try that one, too.

Thanks, Anne! Anne's latest book is available right now, and fittingly, it's a lovely Christmas read! 

Don't forget, as part of TDoCFaRBE I'm encouraging you all to undertake a Random Act of Kindness throughout the festive season. Don't miss the very helpful hints Random Acts is providing on all kinds of acts of kindness you can perform -- their latest hint was a bit of selfless shopping, something I'm a big fan of. Why not add an extra little treat to your shopping basket and leave it under one of the giving trees, or in one of the charity bins at your supermarket?  Or you can simply send Random Acts a donation and wear a smile all day.


  1. Anne, that sounds fantastic! Easy to make and able to be done well in advance. Perfect.

    Just the other night I saw a similar recipe on one of those TV cooking shows and thought how great it'd be, but you never know with these celebrity chefs. But I'm betting this one's an absolute beauty!

  2. Cathryn, I'm trusting my friend who made it and said it was yummo. And really, not a lot can go wrong with plum pud, ice-cream and caramel sauce.

  3. Anne,
    I love Christmas pudding. All sorts. Hot and cold.
    Love that recipe and must give it a try.
    Suzi Love

  4. Okay, Anne, that sounds divine! Love your idea of adding extra fruit marinated in something gorgeous.

    I'm the Christmas dessert maker in our family, but said Christmas functions are never held at my place. So this could be tricky to make when there's an hour's travelling in the heat to factor in (even with air conditioning). But...the thing with divine Christmas desserts, they don't have to be for *just* Christmas time. Might try this out at my next dinner party. :-)

    And, Emmie, I love your reference to random acts of kindness. It's a gorgeous idea!

    1. Michelle, yes, an hours driving in roasting heat wouldn't make this a feasible pudding to take. I'm making it next week for my "orphans" Christmas — a bunch of friends who I always have a Christmas dinner with.

      I love Emmie's random acts suggestion, too. And am blushing for her kind words about my Rake.

    2. Michelle -- I'm really loving the idea of improving our world through simple acts of kindness and this time of year is a great time to focus on it!

  5. I can assure you it's yum! My family includes a trained chef and even he approved.
    My only problem is -- I can no longer eat icecream. :(

    1. Barb, thanks so much for this recipe. It's so useful to have something yummy to eat on a roasting hot day, that's still Christmas pud, but without all the steam of the trad pud.

      And I can imagine lots of fun variations for ordinary days as well.

  6. That sounds delicious! I make a cold pudding, it is the way of my people, but this one is even easier. Easy is good!

    I also loved the Perfect Rake, but I have to put in a vote for the Perfect Kiss as my favourite. But then Anne knows I love her - I said so on video no less! ;)

    1. Aw, Imelda, you're a sweetheart to say so. And on video, no less!:)

      I do like the sound of the cold pudding. Is it like a plum pudding at all, or something quite different?
      I'm thinking a sago pudding with added fruit could be interesting.

  7. Hi Anne,

    Not a fan of hot Christmas pudding myself so this one is perfect. I've had similar over the years but the idea of hot caramel sauce drizzled over it is absolutely drool-worthy. And berries. Yummo.

    1. Mmm, Louise, the idea of hot caramel sauce and cold ice-cream always appeals to me, too. And berries are pretty and delicious. I'll have to remember to take a photo.

    2. I agree, the hot caramel sauce is what brought it home for me!

  8. Suzi, as a kid I loved Christmas pud, evem when it didn't have any coins in it. :) And I still love it today

    thanks for putting this on FB, and for dropping by

  9. Oh yum. All this food is making my mouth water. Thanks for the recipe Anne, I'm going to make that during summer.

    1. I think any recipe that's easy and yummy and involved icecream and hot caramel sauce is bound to be a summer fave, Ebony

  10. I really enjoying these taste-bud-watering recipes. I believe this cake will be making an appearance some time over the Christmas break. What a great idea to mix the cake and icecream prior to serving! Yum yum. Oh and grand marnier makes everything taste scrumptious doesn't it?