Like the traditional alcohol version, it is also extremely easy to make, a case of stirring everything up, then steaming for a few hours. A good few hours.
What is Christmas Pudding?
Christmas pudding is a traditional British dessert served at the end of the Christmas meal. It is a rather heavy, spicy and sweet pudding made up of dried fruits and always with alcohol. It is often served with custard, brandy butter, cream or ice cream.
However, there are definitely 2 camps when it comes to this most beloved of dishes; not quite as divisive as marmite, but almost! My husband, for example, rather disliked it.
Alcohol Free Christmas Pudding
This is a bit of a last minute reader requested Christmas recipe. I received an email a couple of days ago asking (practically begging!) for an alcohol free Christmas pudding recipe.
Fortunately, unlike the traditional Christmas pudding that needs to be made a month earlier (on Stir Up Sunday), this alcohol free version is made and eaten “fresh”. So there’s still plenty of time!
You can make this “free from” Christmas pudding up to 5 days ahead and keep it in the fridge. You could also make it up to 3 months ahead and freeze it. But be sure to thaw it completely before heating and serving.
Easy Christmas Pudding Recipe
All you need to do is get your hands on the list of ingredients; all common, easy to get ones. The traditional Christmas pudding used to be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and the 12 Apostles, and the ingredients are also stirred from East to West to remember the 3 Wise Men.
Our alcohol free Christmas Pudding stays very close to the traditional one on this site. But let’s take a look at the alcohol substitutions.
Alcohol Substitute in Christmas Pudding
We’ll use 2 different types of liquids to replace the alcohol.
- Apple Juice – we use an almost equivalent amount to the alcohol, half a cup. I think apple juice is best, to complement the apple in the pudding; orange juice is will result in a pudding that’s too citrusy and even more sickly sweet than usual!
- Darjeeling Tea (or Earl Grey) – for soaking the raisins and sultanas. Both have sweet, uplifting, floral notes that will add a subtle aroma. I used Darjeeling here because I always some at home.
Now, we usually have a small amount of flour in the traditional Christmas Pudding. That is replaced by cornflour (cornstarch in the US), as both a thickener and binder, with the added advantage of what follows below.
Gluten Free Christmas Pudding
Just use gluten free bread for the breadcrumbs. That’s usually very easy to come by these days at supermarkets.
Mixed Candied Peel
This is just chopped up orange and lemon peel that’s been cooked in sugar, and so, are sweet and sticky. Like the sort added to fruitcake and panettone. You can make this yourself, but shop bought is so much easier. These are the ones I’ve been using for years. If you are making it strictly gluten free and vegan, check the ingredients to ensure that there is nothing untoward in it.
Large or small puddings?
This recipe will allow you to make 1 very large, 1 litre size (4 cups in volume) Christmas pudding, or, as I do it, a combination. I make one to fill a 1 pint (about 575 ml) basin and then have enough to make 3 mini puddings (mine have a capacity of 150 ml, to the brim), perfect to give away. Mini Christmas puddings make great gifts.
Three days to Christmas. If you fancy making this for the day, there’s still time. Don’t forget, you can even make it on the day itself. If you are going to your parents’ for Christmas lunch, make this on the eve, and take it over.
Whatever you are doing this Christmas, have a wonderful one!
More Christmas Dessert Ideas
Alcohol Free Drinks
Or perhaps you are looking for some alcohol free drinks to accompany your alcohol free Christmas pudding? Just head on over to this Drinks page for recipes like:
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And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
Alcohol Free Christmas Pudding (Vegan too!)
- 1 litre pudding basin (or as described above)
- steamer (or a makeshift one using a large pan)
- kitchen foil
- kitchen string and scissors
- large plastic or ceramic bowl for mixing
Soaking the raisins and sultanas
- 1 heaped Tbsp Darjeeling tea leaves or 3 bags
- 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
- 200 g (7 oz) sultanas
- 250 g (9) oz raisins
- 200 g (7 oz) soft brown dark sugar
- 100 g (3.5 oz) solid vegetable fat like Trex, grated
- 100 g (3.5 oz) breadcrumbs
- 50 g (5 Tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/8 tsp (a good pinch) ground cinnamon
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 60 g (2 oz) chopped, candied mixed peel (shop bought, the kind used in cakes & panettone)
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) toasted almond flakes
- 1 medium cooking apple unpeeled, chopped
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- 125 ml 1/2 cup apple juice (from a carton)
Soak the raisins and sultanas
- This wants to be done at least 3 hours before. Make the tea with the tea leaves and boiling water. Leave to brew for 4 minutes.
- Place the raisins and sultanas in a bowl.
- Strain the brewed tea over the dried fruit and top up with more water to cover all the fruit. Stir and leave to soak for at least 1 hour. If you have time, do it for 3, or just leave it overnight.
- At the end of the soaking time, drain the fruit and leave aside.
Preparing the pudding
- Take a large mixing bowl and put the sugar, grated vegetable fat, breadcrumbs, cornflour and spices in and mix well.
- Add the dried fruit, peel, almonds, apple and lemon zest. Again, mix thoroughly.
- Pour in the apple juice and give it a good stir.
- Give it all a good mix. Get the kids to give it a stir and make a wish (silently!). It should be a fairly sloppy mixture.
Cooking the Christmas Pudding
- Put the mixture into the greased pudding basin/s, packing it in.
- Cover with 2 layers of foil. Tie tightly with a string, as in the picture.
- Steam over simmering water for 6 hours for a big pudding, 2 1/2 hours for any small ones. Don’t let the water go dry, be sure to keep topping up.
- If you don’t have a steamer, use a saucepan with an inverted saucer, place the pudding on the saucer and fill it up with boiling water halfway up the pudding basin. Cover with a lid and let the water simmer away.
- When done, let the pudding cool down completely (usually next day) and replace the foil with fresh.
- If not serving immediately, store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- On Christmas day, steam the bigger pudding for 2 hours and the mini ones for 1. Or just do this in the microwave (about 2 minutes for the big one, 1 for the small).
- Serve with your favourite sauce – brandy butter, ice cream, fresh cream or my personal favourite, homemade custard!