Christmas Pudding Recipe {Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Nut Free}

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Traditionally you are supposed to make up your Christmas pudding on the last weekend in November, but although I love keeping many traditions I don't think I've ever managed to get my pud made on that weekend, despite my best intentions earlier on in the month! 

This year I thought it was really going to be the year that I managed it, especially since I made my Christmas Cake way back in September, but once again it is December before I find myself making it. Still, there is no harm in making the pudding later than tradition dictates. One year I was even as late as the week before Christmas when I made it and I don't think there was any adverse effect on the flavour or texture of the pudding. 

I do like to get it done and out of the way as early as possible though, since there is so much going on in December. And the purists do say that getting it made early means it has time to mature and increase in richness.

I've been making our Christmas Pudding gluten, dairy and nut free for quite a number of years now, and the recipe I use is a combination of bits and pieces from other recipes I have used in the past. Most Christmas Pudding recipes use suet, but suet isn't gluten free (at least I haven't found any that is) and so I use margarine rubbed into the flour as the fat in my recipe.

This recipe works equally well if you have no need of free from ingredients and use 'normal' ones instead.

And if you are wondering why bother making your own Christmas Pudding when there are so many available to buy (although have you tried finding a decent gluten & dairy & nut free one?), then I will say that a homemade one is much more superior in every way. It is incredibly simple to make, with no skills involved other than mixing everything together, and the only time consuming part is the 5 hours that you need to give it to steam. But that's hardly labour intensive!

 Not only does it taste great, it's also much much bigger, and you can bask in the domestic-goddess type glow of satisfaction when you see it flaming on the table on Christmas Day.

You will need:
250g mixed dried fruit
50g dried cranberries
150g prunes, chopped
200ml brandy, or alcohol of your choice
100g Gluten-Free Plain Flour
125g wheat-free breadcrumbs (about 4/5 slices of bread, blitzed in a blender)
100g dairy free margarine
150g brown sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 cooking apple, peeled and grated
3 beaten eggs

~ Put the dried fruit, cranberries and prunes in a bowl, pour over your chosen alcohol, mix well, cover and leave to soak overnight.
~ Add the flour and margarine to a bowl and rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
~ Add the rest of the ingredients into the flour/margarine mix and mix together with a wooden spoon before adding your soaked fruits and any leftover liquid, then mix well again.
~ Traditionally every member of the family is supposed to take a turn mixing the pudding, and according to Nigella you were supposed to mix from East to West in honour of the Wise Men!
~ Once everything is well mixed, which really doesn't take long at all, tip the mixture into a greased 3 pint bowl or pudding basin.
~ Cover with greaseproof paper with a crease in it to let the mixture expand, tied with string. Or the lid if you have a proper pudding basin!

~ Put the pudding in the top of a steamer and steam away gently for 5 hours (yes, really). I tend to make mine just before dinner and then let it simmer away until later in the evening.

~ Let the pudding cool and then keep it somewhere safe until Christmas.

~ On Christmas day it will need steamed again for 3 hours. To save on hob space I usually cook my potatoes in the bottom of the steamer for part of that time.
~ Run a knife around the edge of the bowl before putting a plate over the bowl and turning it upside down and gently shake the pudding out.
~ Heat a ladle full of brandy over the gas hob (or in a pan) and then light when it is warm enough.
~ Quickly pour it over the pudding and take it to the table while everyone 'Ooohs' in wonder.