Christmas Pudding. This simplified recipe is baked, not steamed but still has all the great molasses spice flavor of a traditional pudding. Incredibly delicious with our Rum & Butter Sauce!
Originally published Dec 2017.
A traditional Christmas Pudding is something that can intimidate many people. Many folks would like to bring this traditional British element of the Christmas Day feast back to their tables,
However, many have also never made a steamed pudding before. With this recipe, there is no need.
Traditional pudding steamers are also quite a rarity in this part of the world. Although, we still use Spouse’s grandmother’s pudding mold all the time.
Trouble is, it is a little on the small side. Coming from a large family, we would have needed one twice the size at least.
I like a large pudding that can be served on Christmas Day, and then have all the leftovers on standby for visitors. Many people get a freshly warmed slice with Rum & Butter Sauce on visits to our house over the holidays.
Developing the Christmas Pudding recipe
I decided to try and develop a large pudding that could fit those requirements but also be baked and not steamed. The steam heat is a way of preserving moisture in the cake while providing a slow gentle heat. I figured a low and slow bake, like for me Old English Fruitcake could do just as well.
Moisture in this pudding should not be an issue anyway because of the plump soaked raisins (and other fruits if you care to add them). Plus the pudding is soaked in rum or brandy after it cools completely, but even without any spirits at all it is still not dry at all.
Most people would serve this with a decadent sauce too. That means it’s practically impossible to serve this as anything close to what could be considered dry. The texture is meant to be dense and sticky as a good pudding should be. In short, a pudding should be a pudding.
The date base and room for this Christmas Pudding.
I decided to use an all date base for this recipe because they are most readily available everywhere. Dried plums or figs which are also often used traditionally in the base of many recipes can be harder to come by, are more expensive, and the dates have great flavor on their own anyway.
I prefer rum as the spirit of choice for soaking a Christmas Pudding but I do love a good Brandy pudding as well. Irish whiskey, bourbon or cognac will all fit the bill equally well. Choose what you like best.
This recipe provides a good basic recipe but build on it if you like The pudding pictured stays very simple with only raisins as the fruit. You can add glacé cherries or other glacé, candied citrus peel, dried chopped apricots, chopped dried figs, etc. Just keep the total fruit amount under 5 cups and you should be fine.
Like this Christmas Pudding recipe?
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I normally serve this recipe with a Rum Sauce you can find here.
1 hour 34 minutes
2 hours 34 minutes
Christmas Pudding. This simplified recipe is baked, not steamed but still has all the great molasses spice flavor of a traditional pudding.
4 cups raisins, or 4 to 5 cups mixed dried or glacé fruit of your choice
8 oz rum, or other spirits; or apple or white grape juice
2 1/2 cups chopped dates, measured after chopping
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup dark brown sugar (it’s okay to use lighter if necessary)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
- This recipe starts 24 hours in advance with the soaking of the raisins (or mixed dried/glacé fruit) in the rum or other spirit of choice. I soak them in a shallow airtight glass or plastic container. Stir them several times during the day. After 24 hours the fruit should have soaked up practically all of the room. You can do this days or weeks in advance if you want. It makes no difference as long as they are stored in an airtight container.
- Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan very well and line it with parchment paper. This recipe can also be baked in a large tube pan/angel food cake pan that’s been greased well, and with the bottom and sides lined with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the dates, brown sugar, molasses, and water.
- Bring to a gentle boil and very slowly simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until the dates soften and form a thick paste, like the filling for date squares. Watch this carefully and stir often.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes.
- When cool stir in the beaten eggs.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
- Add about 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the date mixture and fold in until almost completely incorporated.
- Fold in the soaked dried fruit and then finally the last half of the dry ingredients. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven.
- Baking time will depend on the pan you are using. My 9 inch springform pan took just over 2 hours. A 10 inch springform pan might take slightly less time, as might a tube pan. Watch it carefully. When a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean it is done. Test at a few points around the center to be sure.
- Cool for up to an hour in the pan before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature.
- At this point you can poke small holes in the top and bottom of the cake with a bamboo skewer and pour on 4 ounces of dark rum or your favorite brandy or other spirits suggested in the recipe notes. Slowly spoon half the rum on the top, wait ten minutes, then flip it over, poke holes again and pour the remaining half on the bottom.
- Soak several layers of cheesecloth in additional room if you like and wrap completely around the pudding, then cover with several layers of plastic wrap and store in a COOL place.
- You can serve this pudding at room temperature or slightly warm the individual servings in the microwave for 20 seconds before serving with a rum sauce.
I prefer rum as the spirit of choice for soaking a Christmas Pudding but I do love a good Brandy pudding as well. Irish whiskey, bourbon or cognac will all fit the bill equally well. Choose what you like best. This recipe provides a good basic recipe but build on it if you like The pudding pictures stays very simple with only raisins as the fruit. You can add glacé cherries or other glacé, candied citrus peel, dried chopped apricots, chopped dried figs, etc. Just keep the total fruit amount under 5 cups and you should be fine. I normally serve this recipe with a Rum Sauce you can find here. You can also add about 3/4 cup roughly chopped nuts to this recipe. Just be sure to toast them on a shallow pan at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes first. Allow to cool, then chop and add to the batter.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.
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24 servings or more
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290Saturated fat 3gCholesterol 35 mgSodium 98 mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 3gSugar 23gProtein 2g