Little Plum Puddings

Little Plum Puddings
-courtesy Dairy Farmers of Ontario;

Here is an update to a British Christmas classic. Serve in individual canning jars with a vanilla caramel sauce that your guests can enjoy pouring over their own puddings.

Plum puddings:
Enough butter to grease the canning jars
½ cup (125 mL) fresh bread without the crust, cubed
1/3 cup (80 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) unbleached flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
¾ tsp (3.5 mL) ground ginger
½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2.5 mL) grated or ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup (160 mL) small cubes of mixed candied fruit
1/3 cup (80 mL) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (80 mL) raisins
1/3 cup (80 mL) sliced almonds, roasted
1/3 cup (80 mL) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (180 mL) brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature

Vanilla caramel sauce:
6 to 8 soft caramel candies
½ cup (125 mL) 35% cream
1/3 cup (80 mL) butter

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a deep baking dish with two layers of paper towel. Grease 6 heat-resistant canning jars that can hold 1 cup (250 mL) each and put them in the baking dish. Prepare some hot water.

Prepare the little plum puddings. In a small bowl, soak the bread cubes in the milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, candied fruit, dried fruit, and almonds and set aside.

Put the butter, brown sugar, eggs and milk-soaked bread in the bowl of an upright mixer. Mix until completely smooth and incorporate the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula.

Fill the canning jars halfway. Cover each one with a square of aluminum foil and tighten the screw bands to seal them.

Make a water bath by pouring hot water into the dish until the canning jars are covered two thirds of the way up. Cook in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the caramels in the cream over low heat while stirring constantly.

Increase the heat, add the butter and whip until the sauce boils and has a uniform consistency.

Serve with the plum puddings.