“For as long as I can remember Mum has made a sago plum pudding for our Christmas meal. I thought it was about time that she taught me how to make it! You may notice there doesn’t seem to be any plums in the recipe, but I assume the original version did. Sago is an ingredient made from the starchy centre of a tropical palm. In this recipe it acts as the binding agent in place of eggs. As there is no flour, the gluten comes from bread crumbs making the pudding incredibly moist! We’ve always eaten it with lashings of custard and whipped cream. Flaming the pudding is an optional but exciting addition, just make sure there is a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy!”
4 tablespoons sago
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
60g glacé cherries
60g chopped dried apricots
Put sago and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will go quite gluey and the sago will plump up and become slightly translucent.
Stir in the butter, sugar and bicarb. Set aside to cool slightly
Mix together the remaining ingredients.
Add the sago mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
Butter a steamed pudding tin and place a round of baking paper at the bottom.
Transfer the pudding batter into the tin and smooth the top. Put on the lid.
Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a large stock pot, then carefully place the steaming tin inside with the pot lid on. Simmer for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water level as it cooks. I check every 30 minutes.
Turn the pudding onto a serving plate.
To flame the pudding bring 1/4 cup of vodka, brandy or any other clear alcohol to the boil in a small saucepan. Carefully light the alcohol and pour over the pudding. (This is best done with the lights dimmed for best effect.)
Serve slices of the pudding with custard and whipped cream.
“Every year I make Christmas mince pies. Mum’s been doing making them for years but I’m sure mine are better! She will disagree with this. Anyway, this version is very tasty and vegan friendly. Of course, you can make them with a traditional shortcrust pastry but I love the texture of this pastry and it’s really easy to make and work with. This recipe makes enough pastry for about 3 dozen mince pies, so halve it if you don’t need that many. I make the Christmas mince in bulk every year and use it to make Christmas cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. I haven’t given weights for the dried fruit because with this method you can make as much or as little as you like and use a combination of fruits that you like best. I would also suggest you use less expensive cooking port or it can get expensive. Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
Ingredients for Christmas mince
Method for Christmas mince
Cut up the dried fruit into small pieces or use a food processor.
Place fruit in a large saucepan pour over enough port to saturate the fruit.
Bring the heat up to medium and keep stirring until the port has been incorporated and the fruit has softened. There should be no liquid left in the mixture and the fruit should be glossy and sticky. (When doing 2kg of dried fruit this takes up to 20 minutes) You can always add more port and keep the mixture on the heat if you want cook it for longer.
Let the Christmas mince cool completely in the saucepan then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate. Because of the high amount of natural sugars the Christmas mince will last for ages!
Ingredients for Vegan shortcrust pastry
190g Nutilex (or non-dairy margarine)
190g icing sugar
400g plain flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
Method for Vegan shortcrust pastry
Put all ingredients in a food processor and combine until it comes into a ball. If you mixture is crumbly add a small amount of cold water. If it’s to soft put some more flour in.
Empty mixture onto some plastic wrap and knead into a disc. (This will make it easier to roll out later)
Wrap disc in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Method for Christmas mince pies
Roll out the pastry until it’s about 5mm thick.
Cut out circles of pastry to fit your pans. (I have specialty pans that are shallow with a fluted edge that are perfect for these pies)
Press the pastry into the base of each mould so it comes a few centimetres up the side. (Or as deep as you want if you want bigger pies!)
Fill the moulds with the cooled Christmas mince and smooth the top.
Using Christmas cutters make tops for the pies. I use stars, Santas, Christmas trees or baubles for mine. You can also enclose the top completely if you like.
Before you put them in the oven you can use an egg-wash, milk or any vegan milks to paint over the pastry tops. Or you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over them.
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and starting to brown.
Give to all your family and friends and everyone will love you!
“Once a month we have “Cake-day” at the QLD Symphony Orchestra. It’s an opportunity for us all to gather for morning tea and try a lavish selection of baked delicacies by our industrious members. I’ve taken on the role to provide cakes for the vegan members of the orchestra, so I’m always looking for new recipes that taste just as good as their non-vegan versions. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the recipe up to the standard I want but some are so delicious on the first attempt that I don’t need to change anything. For this recipe I found a basic vegan cupcake recipe and changed it into this zingy little number with the addition of carrots, currents and walnuts. Enjoy!”
You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.
Place coconut oil, soy or almond milk, bananas and lemon juice and rind in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Mix together the grated carrot, currents, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and mixed spice.
Add the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
Line 2 cupcake tins (makes about 20) with cupcake papers and fill 2/3 full with the mixture. Sprinkle the walnuts on top.
Bake in a 180 degree celsius oven for 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes cool, mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and rind until smooth. Top each cupcake with a small wedge of lemon, then using a teaspoon drizzle with the glaze.
Eat as many as you like!
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!