I’m not really a fan of Christmas pudding. It’s not that it’s not tasty — it is. And lighting them on fire is always fun. But they’re also very heavy, and they need to be steamed for hours when stovetop space is at a premium with all the other things cooking for Christmas dinner.
Christmas pudding is perhaps better known abroad as fruitcake, which is laughed at in America but loved in Ireland. I have to admit that I don’t understand the appeal. My Irish mother-in-law likes it so I buy one every year, but I eat it only as an excuse to have a generous dollop of brandy butter alongside. I was having dinner with a friend last week and she even ordered it for dessert, passing up the chocolate pavé that was also on the menu. Who passes up chocolate for fruitcake?
But what if you broke Christmas pudding down and put it back together, but this time bound with dark chocolate and laced with rum (or brandy, whiskey or sherry)? And what if you rolled it into small, bite-sized truffles with a cap of white chocolate and marzipan holly decorations? Well now. That would change things.
These truffles are the perfect thing to make if you have leftover pudding or you can make them well in advance and keep them in the fridge. They’re a small sweet bite if you don’t want too much after a big holiday meal, they’re a fantastic treat to have stashed away if visitors call around and they’re the perfect little pick-me-up alongside a cup of afternoon tea or coffee. Plus, being miniature and cute, they have the wow factor working in their favour.
In truffle form, I might begin to like Christmas pudding after all.
Nollaig Shona Duit!
Christmas Pudding Truffles
adapted from taste.com.au
Makes about 40 truffles
One of the great things about this recipe is that you can either use cooked and cooled leftover Christmas pudding or a store-bought pudding right off the shelf that you haven’t heated through first (just be sure to use a store-bought pudding that is already fully cooked). I’ve made these truffles with leftover and fresh pudding and found that when using leftover pudding, the texture of the truffles was stickier than the ones made with pudding that hasn’t been heated.
You could also try a coffee or orange liqueur instead of the brandy, whiskey, rum or sherry. Or if you’d rather leave alcohol out altogether, try using coffee instead.
This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on how much pudding you have left over or how many truffles you want to make. You could also use red and green glacé cherries or coloured fondant icing to make the holly berry and leaves decorations instead of marzipan.
800 g (28 oz) Christmas pudding (see note above)
100 g (4 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy, whiskey, dark rum or sherry
200 g (7 oz) white chocolate, chopped
50 g (2 oz) marzipan
red and green food colouring
Crumble the pudding into a bowl and break it up into small pieces. Alternatively, if you have things like whole glacé cherries in your pudding, you could finely chop the pudding in a food processor (though it will probably bind together instead of reducing to crumbs, which is fine).
Put the dark chocolate in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water), making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water and taking care that no water gets into the chocolate itself. Stir with a metal spoon or a spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the melted chocolate and brandy to the pudding and stir until well combined.
Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture into a ball and place on the lined tray. Repeat until you’ve used up all the pudding. Don’t make the truffles too big — you want them to be small and bite-sized. Chill the truffles in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm (though note that they probably won’t ever get very firm and will likely remain somewhat sticky to the touch).
Once the truffles are firm, put the white chocolate in a bain marie, again making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water and taking care that no water gets into the chocolate itself. Stir with a metal spoon or a spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Using a small spoon, gently dollop about 1/2 teaspoon of white chocolate on top of each truffle, spreading it a little with the spoon. Put the truffles back in the fridge to allow the white chocolate to set.
Meanwhile, to make the decorations, divide the marzipan in half. Colour one half of it with the red dye and the other half with the green dye, mixing well to make sure there are no streaks. Roll tiny bits of the red marzipan into balls to make the holly berry decoration and pinch off strands of the green marzipan to make the leaves. Gently stick the decorations onto the truffles after the white chocolate has set.
These truffles will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.