The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas can mean many things to people but for myself and my family it’s all about the food. Both of my grandmothers used to lovingly make their puddings the old-fashioned way – from scratch – and when they passed away our tradition was gone. Sadly, my mum missed out on the cooking gene (she admits this herself!) and was never interested in making the pudding. Enter the pre-made supermarket puddings (urgh). Once I commenced my health journey and went gluten free and dairy free, I didn’t have to eat the chemical-laden puddings and, with no good alternative, just learned to live without it. (Devastating, I know.)

But then, a few years ago, I came across this seriously amazing recipe and thought I’d give it a go. With some minor tweaks, it has become a Christmas staple. I even have a couple of family members who send me money to make them a special batch for taking to their in-laws (or in the case of my sister, to keep in the freezer so she has a personal stash of pudding well beyond Christmas!). And the best part? You can make it 100% gluten free and dairy free by switching the butter for coconut oil. I’ve also made it using different types of flour (i.e. coconut flour) and duck eggs instead of chicken eggs and it’s still fabulous. It may even be possible to replace the eggs with mashed banana or egg replacer, although I haven’t tried doing this. If you give it a go, please let me know how it turns out. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with this delicious pudding, unless you were my mother, of course. (Sorry Mum! Love you.)

Here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

375g raisins, roughly chopped

375g sultanas

250g currants

200g dried apricots, roughly chopped

150g pitted prunes, roughly chopped

¾ cup brandy

¼ cup green ginger wine

½ cup dark berry jam of your choice

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon mixed spice

4 eggs, at room temperature (or 3 duck eggs)

250g butter, melted, cooled (or swap for coconut oil)

4 tablespoons of light olive oil

½ cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)

1 ½ cups banana flour (or 1 cup of coconut flour)

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

METHOD

  1. Add to a large mixing bowl the dried fruit, brandy, wine, jam and spices. Mix well, cover and stand overnight, stirring occasionally. (Pro tip: I usually leave it for 2-3 days so the fruit gets good and drunk).
  2. Whisk eggs and butter together. Add to fruit mixture with sugar, flour, oil and bicarbonate of soda. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

For a traditional steamed pudding:

  1. Grease a 10-cup capacity pudding basin with melted butter. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Brush with butter again. Line base of bowl with baking paper.
  2. Spoon mix into prepared basin.
  3. Cut 1 large sheet of foil and 1 large sheet of baking paper. Lay paper over foil. Make a 3 cm pleat in the middle. Place, paper-side down, over pudding. Secure with string or use pudding lid to lock down.
  4. Place an upturned saucer into the base of a large, deep saucepan. Place basin onto saucer. Pour hot water into saucepan so it comes one-third of the way up the side of the basin. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Keep checking water level as the water can evaporate and may need to be topped up. Simmer for 5 hours or take off lid and check with a skewer (this is risky as it is very hot!).
  5. Remove pudding from water. Stand for 30 minutes. Turn onto a platter. Serve as desired. Alternatively, cool completely then store.

(Recipe courtesy of Natural Evolution Foods)

If you want to do what I do and have individual puddings:

  1. Grease cupcake pans (or use silicone moulds) and add pudding mix. Don’t fill them quite to the top as they will expand a bit.
  2. Bake in a 180° oven for 35-40 minutes OR steam them in a water bath in the oven OR steam them in your Varoma dish in your Thermomix. (This is what I do.)

Individual puddings can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until Christmas Day. Warm them in a gentle oven or re-steam them in the Varoma and serve with custard, cream or ice cream (dairy or non-dairy options).

Any way you make this it is absolutely delicious, and your entire family will love it. I don’t even tell my family it’s gluten free (because they would turn their nose up at it!) and they think it’s the bee’s knees.

Enjoy and have a very merry Christmas!

Denise Berry BHSc
Naturopath

To learn how you can eat healthy, feel well and take care of your body for the long term, book an appointment with one of our naturopaths; they would love to help you!