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Kreeli's Krimster Pudding
aka Vegan Christmas Pudding/Vegan Plum Pudding

Before you begin, ask yourself if you have enough time before serving this dish to allow it to "cure". Most Christmas/Plum Puddings don't begin to develop their true, rich flavours until they've been allowed to set for a week or more. Many people make their puddings weeks or months in advance. If you're making it for this year's winter holiday festivities, today or tomorrow are really your last days to do so while still allowing it enough time to develop it's flavour.

You're also going to need some equipment for this. A food processor, a heatproof bowl or pudding mold (metal or pyrex), a steamer basket or trivet, and a large pot, kettle or crockpot with a tight-fitting lid that will hold the bowl/mold and trivet.

Other than these things, Krimster pudding is actually very simple to make and takes very little "hands-on" time. Most of the time required to prepare it is allowing it to steam, cure, and reheat.

Ingredients:

3 cups bread crumbs, lightly packed (take any stale bread you have laying around and use it up)
1 cup raisins, any variety
1 cup dates or prunes
1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1 cup melted vegan margarine or shortening
1/2 lb (about 3/4 cup) whipped medium-firm tofu
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cloves or allspice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Chop your dried fruit up together in the food processor and toss with the bread crumbs and spices. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pack into your heat proof bowl or mold. Place the trivet or steamer basket inside your pot, kettle or crockpot. Set the bowl or mold on the trivet or in the steamer basket. Add water to the pot, kettle or crockpot until it comes about halfway up the bowl or mold's sides. Set to a low simmer and allow to steam for at least six hours; overnight is best. Cover tightly with the lid. Be sure to check it periodically to make sure there is still water in the pot. You will be able to tell it's done when it is a dark brown walnut colour and it's fairly firm to the touch. Cool it in the mold or bowl, cover and keep in the fridge until 2 hours before serving.

To serve the pudding, begin steaming it again using the same method at least 2 hours in advance of serving. Remove from the steamer and invert a plate over the top of the bowl. Carefully turn the whole thing upside down and it should pop right out onto the plate. If you wish to flamboyantly flambe it, pour 1/2 cup brandy/whiskey over and around the pudding and using a bbq lighter set it aflame at the table to a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs". Serve hot with ice cream, or my personal favourite, hard sauce.

Hard Sauce
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar/confectioner's sugar/icing sugar
2 tbsp brandy

Melt margarine and then place in a bowl. Beat slowly while adding the powdered sugar. Once it's all added, slowly beat in the brandy. Serve with warm pudding. If you're thinking this doesn't sound like it will turn out very sauce-like, you're right. It's more like a soft icing or frosting.

This whole recipe, both the pudding and the hard sauce, should serve about 8 people.

I should mention that it is rumoured a christmas pudding/plum pudding keeps just fine out of the fridge in cold storage (like, a wine cellar) for several months. I have never tried this myself, and if you do try it, I accept no responsibility for what condition you may find your pudding in when you attempt to reheat it.