This is a fabulous dessert for the holiday and is sure to have your family and guests saying wow! There are a few steps, but it’s well worth the effort. If you are completely pressed for time, you could skip making the pudding from scratch and buy a good one and then make the cherry chocolate sauce and decorate the pudding and make it your own creation, of course making your own is best.
TIP Traditional Christmas Pudding calls for brandy I have used apple juice instead of the brandy to soak the fruit. You can use brandy or cherry brandy, if you prefer. You can use dark chocolate chips in place of chopped chocolate.
NOTE You’ll need a 1-litre pudding steamer, 2 pieces of baking paper, foil and string for this recipe. To make fresh breadcrumbs for the pudding use approx. 3 – 4 slices of bread with crust cut off and cut or torn into pieces. Then grind them in a food processor or high-speed blender. You can replace the eggs in the recipe with chia eggs if you prefer making a vegan version.
To make 2 chia eggs: place 2 tbsp chia seeds and 5 tbsp water in a little bowl, stir and let sit for at least 10 minutes to thicken. Then use in place of eggs in a recipe.
SERVES 10 – 12
PREP 50 minutes – to 1 hour
COOKING TIME 2½ hours
- 1½ cups frozen pitted cherries, defrosted (reserve ½ cup for serving)
- 1 firm ripe pear or apple
- 1 cup sultanas and/or raisins
- ½ cup apple juice or pear juice
- 100gm (70%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 100gm (3 tbsp) butter or vegan butter, plus 2 tbsp for greasing pudding steamer
- 2 large eggs, beaten (or 2 chia egg, see NOTE)
- ½ cup flour or gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice cinnamon (and ¼ tsp each nutmeg, and ginger)
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- ½ cup coconut sugar (or firmly packed dark brown sugar).
Optional for Serving
- Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows)
- whipped cream, whipped coconut cream or sweetened Greek yoghurt (optional, for serving)
- a few fresh cherries (optional, for serving)
- mint leaves (optional, for serving).
1. Drain the cherries over a bowl and reserve the liquid and then cut the cherries in half. Peel the pear or apple and then coarsely grate it.
2. In a medium-large sauce pan combine 1 cup of the cherries, grated pear, raisins, apple juice and reserved cherry liquid and stir well. Heat to medium and cook for 2 – 3 minutes then remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes to soften and plump the fruit.
3. Then stir the chocolate and 100gm butter into hot fruit until melted and allow to cool uncovered for approx. 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, rub 1 tbsp butter around the inside of a 1-litre pudding steamer and set aside. Then lay two sheets of baking paper over each other and butter the one on top. Then while holding both sheets together fold a 3cm pleat across the middle of the baking paper and set aside.
5. Place the beaten eggs in a large bowl and sift in the flour, mixed spices and cocoa powder mix well. Then pour in the chocolatey fruit mixture, breadcrumbs and sugar and mix well. The batter will be quite a wet mixture. Spoon into prepared steamer and smooth over top.
6. Cover pudding with the buttered baking paper (buttery-side down), scrunching it over the edge of steamer. Cover with a piece of foil and scrunch it over the steamer and tie with string firmly to secure.
7. Trim foil and baking paper so that is an overhang of approx. 5cm is left sticking out, then tuck the overhanging foil and paper up and under itself neatly. The goal is to keep the pudding watertight beneath.
8. Put steamer on a heatproof saucer in a large stockpot/pan and add enough boiling water to pot to come halfway up the side of steamer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and boil gently for appro. 2½ hours or until pudding is cooked. You may need to add a little more water as the pudding steams. Test by inserting a skewer through the foil and if there is any wet mixture, continue steaming for 15 minutes longer and check again.
9. While the pudding is steaming make the Chocolate Cherry Sauce. Recipe follows.
10. Cool and chill the pudding until you are ready to serve. To reheat before serving place the pudding in the pot/pan, add water again and steam for 30 minutes. For serving turn the pudding out onto a platter, top with the extra cherries and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Chocolate Sauce Ingredients
- 150gm dark (70%) chocolate bars
- ¾ cup coconut milk or cream
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (to taste)
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
- pinch of sea salt (to taste).
Method for Chocolate Sauce
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, completely remove from heat, but leave the pan with the melted chocolate in the warm water.
2. Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Check to see if it is sweet enough and add more sweetener, if desired and stir well. The mixture should be like thick hot chocolate.
3. You can make the sauce a few days ahead and chill until ready to serve. Then gently reheat in a double boiler before serving. This recipe makes approx. 1 cup of sauce and if there is any leftover it will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
You may love Chef Kate’s cookbook, The Flavour of Joy. Containing stories to inspire, amuse and uplift as well as delicious, healthy recipes you’ll love.
Kate uses local organic and sustainable ingredients in her tasty and nutritious recipes, also including superfoods and medicinal herbs in her dishes to create healthy and nourishing food for the body, mind, and spirit.