Christmas pudding is a great part of the countdown to Christmas. Traditionally you make it a few weeks (up to 6 weeks) before and, once you’ve piled all the ingredients into a large bowl, everyone has a good stir and a wish. This year, Zoe’s friend, Emily, came round to stir. We hope your wish comes true, Emily! Here’s the recipe I used – it makes a much lighter, yet still very rich and moist, version of the classic – and all without gluten or dairy. As with the Christmas cake, you can feed it with more brandy while you wait for the day. If you’re making it in advance, leave to cool in the bowl once cooked, then wrap tightly in foil and store in a cool place or freezer. Then recover with foil and steam for 1 hour to reheat.
Preparation time 30 minutes Cooking time 6½ hours Makes 1 pudding to serve 10–12
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, seed-free, citrus-free
- dairy-free margarine, for greasing
- 750g/1lb 10oz mixture of sultanas, raisins and currants
- 150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cups brandy or apple juice
- 300g/10½oz/gluten-free and dairy-free bread, crusts removed
- 50g/1¾oz/heaped ¼ cup rice flour
- 25g/1oz/scant ¼ cup gram flour
- 50g/1¾oz/½ cup ground almonds
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- a large pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 175g/6oz/1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
- 100g/3½oz gluten-free vegetarian suet
- 50g/1¾oz dried mango, chopped
- 1 small apple, grated
- 30g/1oz/scant ½ cup flaked almonds
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Lightly grease a pudding basin with dairy-free margarine and cover the base with a circle of greased baking paper. Put the sultanas, raisins and currants and 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 30–40 minutes until all of the fruit has softened and the water has been absorbed. Pour the brandy in, mix thoroughly, and leave to one side.
- Put the bread in a food processor and blend to make (about 200g/7oz) breadcrumbs. Remove and leave to one side.
- Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and add the ground almonds, breadcrumbs, xanthan gum and spices and mix well. Add in the sugar, suet, chopped mango, grated apple and flaked almonds and stir well with a wooden spoon. (Ask everyone to stir at this point – and don’t forget to make a wish!)
- Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Pour into the pudding mixture and stir in thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the basin and smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon. Cover with 2 layers of greased foil and tie a piece of string tightly around the basin rim to secure it.
- Put the basin into a large saucepan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 6 hours, adding more boiling water if needed.
- Leave to cool in the bowls for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and turn out. Serve hot.