Baking, Christmas, Recipes, Ultimate Budget Christmas Dinner, Vegetarian

Mincemeat Pudding, from 37p

Serves at least 4 very generously, from 37p. For the full shopping list, see here.

300g white bread, 14p (36p/800g, HW Nevill at Tesco)

300ml whole milk, 26p (50p/568ml or 1pt, Asda) OR the combined strained juices from the canned mandarins and canned grapefruit from the Stuffing Roast and Prawn Cocktail, if making this as part of the Christmas menu

50g baking spread, 11p (55p/250g, Best For Baking spread, Asda)

300g mincemeat, 84p (£1.15/411g, Asda)

1 egg, 13p (75p/6 medium free range eggs, Asda)

400g can of custard, 50p (Tesco or Asda) – optional

First dice your bread, tear it up, or blast it in a food processor. They all give a similar result, with the food processor edging it for a slightly more even texture but not enough to justify yet more washing up, in my humble opinion. But do whatever feels right to you, with whatever you have at your disposal. Place into a large mixing bowl that will easily hold twice its volume, and set aside for a moment.

In a second, smaller mixing bowl, or jug, measure in the milk. Melt the spread and beat in quickly. Mix in the mincemeat – it won’t look particularly pretty at this stage, but it all works itself out in a moment. Add the egg and beat in briskly with a fork, until the wet ingredients are well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients over the bread, and mix well. Leave to stand and absorb for 15 minutes.

Lightly grease a loaf tin, 20cm cake tin (round or square), or individual pudding tins. Transfer the pudding mixture to the tin, or divide equally if using pudding tins.

Place in the centre of the oven at 190C, covering with a little foil to prevent it from overly browning. You can remove this 10 minutes before the end if you like a crispy top and edge to your pudding. Bake for 50 minutes, checking with a knife to the centre, cocktail stick or skewer. It should be moist and dense but not underdone. If it clings to your implement, return it to the very bottom shelf of the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Serve with custard, or whatever suits.

This can be made up to three days in advance and warmed through in the microwave or oven to serve as required.

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