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Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding

Asked by Bellarose. Answered on 12th December 2010

Full question

We have made the Nigella Christmas pudding, we used the old-fashioned method and cooked the pudding in muslin. We cooked it over night in the slow cooker (about 10 hours) in water. When we pealed the muslin off, we can still see small amounts of suet. Does this mean it has not cooked enough? Can we remedy this problem? Many thanks. Lx

Our answer

You can cook a Christmas Pudding in a slow cooker (crockpot), some manufacturers will include guides in their handbooks. Nigella's puddings tend to be on the generous side so may need slightly longer cooking than is in handbooks. We would suggest cooking the pudding initially for 12 to 13 hours - but you should use the "high" setting on the slow cooker and also add boiling water from a just-boiled kettle to come half way up the side of the pudding basin. Ideally you should see the occasional odd wisp of steam coming from the water. You should check the water level and top up if necessary halfway through the cooking time. Most bowls should be fine just sitting in the earthenware pot but if you are worried about contact with the base of the slow cooker then put a clean, folded tea towel in the base of the post first and sit the basin on this. On Christmas day we would suggest you steam the pudding in the normal way for 3 hours (if using muslin we recommend the pudding is in the steamer basket rather than in the boiling water as the water can bubble up over the top of the pudding), though again if your slow cooker handbook has guidelines then use these and be slightly generous with the timings.

With your particular pudding it depends on whether the flecks of suet look like they have melted and re-solidified or if they are just uncooked and haven't melted. If you started with cold water in the slow cooker or on a low setting then it may not have cooked for as long as it should have as it would take a few hours to heat up the water to a suitable level. If unsure it may be safest to steam the pudding in the normal manner for 5 hours before serving. The pudding will have shrunk away from the sides of the basin slightly at the top when the pudding is ready and should turn out of the basin fairly easily (you may need to give a shake or two before it drops on to your serving plate).

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