Christmas pudding or plum pudding is traditionally served on Christmas dinner in Britain. It’s made out of dried fruits held together with egg and suet, moisturized with golden syrup or molasses, and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and other spices. It is normally prepared with thirteen ingredients, to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples. It’s usually stirred from east to west in honor of the three wise men that visited baby Jesus. Each member of the family traditionally stirs the pudding mixture and makes a wish secretly. A silver coin is then placed in the mixture and the person that finds it is supposed to find wealth. Sometimes, a ring is placed in the mixture, instead of a coin, to foretell a marriage or a thimble for lucky life.
In Spain, we follow a similar culinary tradition to celebrate Epiphany or the Three King Days, on Jan 6th. We prepare a cake called Roscón de reyes or Rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). It’s a brioche-like sweet bread topped with figs, cherries or dried and candied fruits. Like in the Christmas pudding, there is usually a trinket hidden in the cake. The person that finds it has good luck for the next 365 days. However, they have to pay for the next year’s roscón or Epiphany party.
These traditions are beautiful and the desserts are delicious but let’s be honest, preparing these pastries is time-consuming and not necessarily healthy.
This year for Christmas, I am preparing something equally delightful and healthy. I am making Christmas Mini Puddings, a la British style but with a twist. They are vegan, gluten-free and very easy to make. It only takes 5-10 minutes to prepare. Can you believe it? The original recipe was published by Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef, for the Natural Awakenings magazine. I then added a (vegan) maple vanilla frosting to cover each Christmas pudding. This is easily my new favorite Christmas treat! Enjoy it!
Merry Christmas! !Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!
- 10 Medjool dates
- 8 oz dried apricots, chopped
- 1 ½ cups almond meal
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice
- grated zest from one orange
- Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, almond meal, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs.
- Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed. Divide puddings into 6 small puddings ( or 12 mini ones).
- The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mold with plastic wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly. Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed.
- Pour a little bit of maple vanilla frosting** or melted white chocolate over the top of each one of the puddings You can garnish them with dried cranberries, goji berries, nuts or more orange zest.
- Arrange onto a serving plate and set aside until needed. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
- ** To prepare the maple vanilla frosting, combine the following ingredients in a blender until smooth: 1/2 cup of raw cashews ( soaked for at least 4 hours), 1/4 cup of (melted) coconut butter, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.
- Store any leftover frosting in the fridge.
Some people have asked me what the difference is between a (British) Christmas pudding and what they call in the US Christmas fruitcake. The main difference is that the Christmas pudding is steamed and the Christmas fruitcake is bake. Also, Christmas pudding is usually flamed after Brandy has been poured over it. This is an ingredient that you could be easily incorporated into my maple vanilla frosting for the adults in the family! Bon Appétit