I always looked forward to tucking into my mum’s homemade Christmas pudding on Christmas Day. In my humble opinion it was, and still is the best Christmas pudding I’ve ever tasted. As my mum’s Christmas pudding was SO good and is one of the many recipes she’d jotted down, I thought I’d give a gluten free version a whirl and see if it was as good as I remembered. It was. And of course, as you know, any recipe success story must also be shared with you.
This Christmas pudding has the most gorgeous rich flavour (thanks to the addition of treacle and dark muscovado sugar), the perfect ratio of fruit and a yummy, squidgy texture, that is delightfully moreish! It’s also nice and easy to pop together and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients.
For this recipe I’ve suggested an alternative to use instead of gluten free suet, as I know it can be tricky to get hold of. Great stuff if you manage to pick some up!
You will spot this recipe makes two puddings. Halve the recipe should you only wish to make one. I went with the full quantity my mum had written down, as I wanted to try out two different steaming methods. I also wanted to reheat and test a pudding and still have one left for Christmas Day!
Ingredients (makes 2 puddings)
225g (8oz) *currants
225g (8oz) *sultanas
110g (4oz) gluten free self-raising flour or mix
½ teaspoon *mixed spice
½ teaspoon *nutmeg
½ teaspoon *cinnamon
Good pinch of salt
50g (2oz) *ground almonds
175g (6oz) gluten free suet (or you can do as I did and grate chilled stork baking block or butter into the flour)
110g (4oz) dark muscovado sugar
225g (8oz) gluten free breadcrumbs (I used Warburtons gluten free bloomer with sourdough and blitzed them with one of these mini choppers)
4 large beaten eggs
4 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons black treacle
225ml (8fl oz) milk
Grease two x 1 litre pudding basins. Line the base of the basin with a small disk of greaseproof paper to prevent the pudding from sticking when you turn it out.
If you are unable to get hold of gluten free suet. Then wrap the butter or hard margarine in greaseproof paper and pop it into the freezer for about half an hour. Once nicely chilled grate this into the gluten free flour (watch your fingers!). Stop a couple of times in-between grating to gently coat the fat in flour to ensure it doesn’t all clump together. Cover and pop into the fridge to keep cool for now.
In a large bowl mix the fruit together.
Stir in the spices, salt, ground almonds, sugar and breadcrumbs then add the chilled flour mixture (now is the time to add the suet should you be using that instead). Gently mix to evenly distribute all the ingredients.
Stir in the beaten egg and add the brandy, treacle and milk. Give everything another gentle mix with a large spoon until the ingredients are nicely distributed. Best not to over stir, as you don’t want to break down the suet/fat too much.
Divide the mixture between the prepared basins.
Cut out a couple of disks of greaseproof paper (you need them large enough to cover and come an inch or so down the side of the basin). Place a sheet of foil over the paper disks and fold a 3cm pleat across the middle of both the paper and foil. This gives the pudding a little wiggle room when it expands.
Lightly butter the greaseproof paper before laying it (foil side up) over the pudding basin. Shape the foil around the bowl. Secure in place with string tied tightly around the rim of the bowl twice. Add a sturdy string handle to make life easier when lifting the pudding out. Cut off any access foil and paper.
To steam the pudding on the stove: Place the pudding basin in a double steamer that sits over a pan of simmering water. Keep topping the water up throughout the cooking time. Or instead, cook the pudding in a large pan. Sit the pudding basin on a heatproof trivet in the pan so it doesn’t catch on the bottom (I used an upturned metal plate). Pour in enough boiling water so it comes halfway up the pudding basin. If you don’t have a lid to cover the pan, use foil to form a seal to ensure the steam remains well and truly trapped inside. Again, keep topping up with boiling water as and when required. Steam for 6 hours.
To steam in a slow cooker: Place the pudding in the slow cooker and carefully pour in enough boiling water until it comes halfway up the pudding basin. Make sure the lid fits snugly on the slow cooker and there are no gaps. Cook on low setting for 10 hours Top up with boiling water when the level drops.
When the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and carefully lift out the pudding. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before removing the foil/paper and turning it out onto a plate to serve.
Recipe notes and suggestions:
If not eating straight away, leave the pudding to cool completely before removing the foil/paper. Brush the top of the pudding with a little brandy. Then re-cover and secure with string as before. Wrap nice and tightly for safe keeping. Store the pudding in a cool dark place or in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Storing it this way, will allow the flavours to mature.
For the best results, reheat the pudding by steaming on the stove for two hours or for four hours in a slow cooker.
As I mentioned before, one of the reasons I wanted to make two puddings was to compare steaming methods. I steamed one on the top of the stove in a large pan and the other in a slow cooker. I felt the one I steamed in the pan came out better. The one I steamed in the slow cooker slightly caught around the sides. This may have been because the water didn’t come high enough up on the pudding basin or maybe it was a little too close to the wall of the slow cooker? So, should you choose to steam your pudding in a slow cooker, keep your beady eye on the water level and keep it well topped up.
In the past I’ve soaked the fruit in the brandy prior to making Christmas pudding. But on this occasion I didn’t. The reason for not suggesting you soak the fruit, is that it gives you the option to rustle a pudding up at short notice. Of course, should you fancy soaking the fruit prior to making the pudding, simply add the brandy from the recipe to the fruit, give it a stir and then cover and leave for 24-48 hours.
I loved the simplicity of this Christmas pudding and feel it really works perfectly without any additional fruit being added. But should you fancy chucking in a few chopped cherries, mixed peel, dates or nuts. Then do.
I’ve always enjoyed my Christmas pudding served up with hot brandy sauce and really couldn’t think of eating it any other way. However, I know many people love a generous drizzle of fresh cream poured over their pud!
Thanks so much for checking out this recipe for gluten free Christmas pudding, I’d love you to give it a go. But, if you have your own treasured family recipe that you’d prefer to use, then go for it. I’m simply here to scatter a little recipe inspiration.
My Christmas recipe selection on the blog isn’t huge at the moment – it will grow over time. But in the meantime, I do have a rather tempting recipe for frangipane topped mince pies that I think you may like.
*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.