22 March 2010
Favourites such as rice pudding, suet pudding and upside-down-puddings can all be made in a matter of minutes instead of the longer cooking time I usually have to allow. Fruit cooks beautifully, too, and retains all its flavour and colour. Cooked fruit can easily be transformed into a more substantial pudding (a crumble or pie, or a Summer Pudding), or is equally delicious served on its own with custard or a little whipped cream.
No lengthy pre-soaking is necessary when cooking dried fruits or compotes, and again, the cooking time is greatly reduced. And you can serve a fruit compote chilled for breakfast the following day - if there happens to be any left over from supper.
I still prefer to cook my Christmas puddings in the traditional way, as I have yet to find a microwave recipe which I like as much as my usual one. However, you can reheat your pudding - like other suet or sponge puds - on full power for 2-3 minutes, then serve it with your favourite sauce.
Fruit cooks beautifully in the microwave and retains its shape well. Do remember that it will continue to cook for a few minutes from residual heat when it comes out of the microwave, so don't be tempted to overcook the fruits if they appear not to be quite done when they first come out of the microwave.
Peel, core and slice 1lb (450g) cooking apples, arrange them in a bowl and sprinkle with 2-4 oz (50-100g) sugar to taste. Cover with pierced clear film and cook on full power for 6-8 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time.
Top and tail 1lb (450g) gooseberries, put into a bowl and sprinkle with 4-6 oz (100-175g) sugar to taste. Cover with pierced clear film and cook on full power for 4 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
Wash and stone 1lb (450g) plums, arrange them in a bowl and sprinkle with 2-4 oz (50-100g) sugar to taste. Cover with pierced clear film, then cook on full power for 5-7 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
Top and tail or hull 1lb (450g) soft fruits. Put them in a bowl, sprinkle with 3-4 oz (75-100g) sugar to taste and cover with pierced clear film. Cook on full power for 3-5 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
Rhubarb and OrangeWipe, then trim and slice 1 1/2 lb (675g) rhubarb into a bowl, add the grated rind and the juice of a large orange and sprinkle with 6oz (175g) sugar. Mix together lightly and cover with pierced clear film. Cook on full power for 5 minutes, stirring once during cooking. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving warm with custard, or chill well and serve with a blob of whipped cream.