Epic Paleo Christmas Pudding – A Classic Recipe, with a modern twist
Gluten free || Grain free || Dairy free || Cane Sugar free || Soy free || Paleo
My mum used to make an Epic Christmas Pudding. Along with Dad’s Trifle, the recipe for which was passed down by his mother – both were always on the menu. I have such fond memories of Christmas at the farm with a home grown roast chook and a ham, cured from a pig we had fattened earlier in the year. We always had a tree which my little brother, Dad and I would seek out on Christmas Eve – together we’d choose a branch for Dad to cut down. Sometimes from a scrub tree or crows ash, other times from a hoop pine. We’d drag our branch back to the house together. We loved decorating our tree on Christmas Eve!
The year mum died, it felt almost like betrayal to celebrate Christmas. Christmas fell only a couple of months after her passing, so the three of us shared a humble meal. On the table I had her photo framed and a cutting from a hoop-pine tree, set in a flower vase, with only a couple of wooden ornaments – it was enough given the year and loss we had endured. After that year, things improved, but never again did we have mum’s pudding.
So fast-forward almost a decade now and in that time there has been many a Christmas with other families in varying locations and kitchens. We lost Dad too, but his Trifle Recipe has lived on and is always a great tribute to his memory. I don’t think I’ve met a single soul that hasn’t put their hand up for seconds.
This year, we are hosting Christmas again – my little brother and his beautiful family are travelling 1200 kilometres to visit us in Sydney – it’s going to be great! I was so excited to finally, for the first time, embark on this sacred Christmas Pudding Recipe! It will be special to have a Christmas dessert, that we haven’t had since a Christmas with Mum.
Paleo Christmas Pudding Recipe
So the Epic Paleo Christmas Pudding Recipe I’ve created, has been adapted from a recipe first jotted down by my Grandmother in 1976 and goodness knows where it came from before that. Prehaps Mrs Beeton – I don’t know. Mum made it religiously each year since I can remember. A capable hand in the kitchen, as far as I’m aware, she never strayed far from the exact instructions.
Grandma’s recipe note is titled “plum pudding”, but it has no plums or prunes – so that is the first change I made – I’ve added prunes! Other substitutions and notes are as follows:
- Beef Suet & Leaf Lard: I had a classic case of ‘baby brain’ when I visited the butcher. Not remembering where suet came from (the young butcher was even more clueless than me) – anyway, I ended up taking home leaf lard. Beef suet is from cattle, Leaf lard is from pigs – its the beautiful, mild white fat which attaches to the kidneys. Its not uncommon and is extremely healthy to use natural animal fat in cooking, so please don’t be put off by the idea- just ask your butcher, and make sure it’s from a grass-fed animal.
- Almond Meal, instead of Bread Crumbs: This is Paleo-101. Ditching the bread and grains for something more wholesome, natural and less processed. It’s higher in protein too!
- Coconut Flour instead of Plain Wheat Flour: As above – swapping out grains and adding a paleo-friendly flour. I’ve also reduced the quantity since coconut flour is very dry.
- Coconut Sugar instead of Brown Sugar: Coconut sugar is lower in fructose than cane sugar. I’ve also reduced the volume of sugar too. With all that dried fruit, there’s barely a need for it, although remembering that sugar is natural preservative, we do need a little and besides, it’s Christmas!
- Extras: to enhance the flavour and to make it a little more ‘my-own’, I’ve also added orange zest and juice, as well as ground cinnamon. Cinnamon seems to be a standard inclusion in most recipes anyway.
- 2 large mixing bowl
- small bowl + fork (to beat eggs)
- pudding steaming container – greased and lined with baking paper
- large deep pot to boil the pudding in (e.g. a stock pot)
- 200g currents
- 200g sultanas
- 200g pitted prunes
- 100g raisins
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 4 tbsp brandy
- 50g coconut flour
- 120g almond meal
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 pinch Himalayan sea-salt
- 50g coconut sugar
- 50g slivered almonds
- 100g leaf lard or beef suet, very finely chopped
- 3 large eggs (OR 4 smaller eggs), beaten
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the currents, sultanas, prunes, raisins, orange zest, orange juice and brandy. Cover with glad wrap and leave to rest for 4 hrs, or overnight.
- Once you’re ready to proceed, start to boil a large deep pot of water and while the water is coming to the boil, prepare the pudding in steps 3 to 7.
- In the other mixing bowl, sift the coconut flour, almond meal, spices, bi-carb soda and salt.
- To the same bowl, add the finely chopped leaf lard (or beef suet), massaging it thoroughly through with your fingers, until it resembles bread crumbs (just like you might do if you were making a pastry with butter and flour).
- Add the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Add the fruit and mix thoroughly.
- Press into the greased and lined pudding steamer and secure the lid. If without a lid then cover with one layer of baking paper, then two layers of aluminium foil and tie very, very tightly with string.
- Plunge into boiling water, no deeper than the rim of the steaming pot. Boil covered for 5 hours. Top up the water regularly to the same level.
- Do not remove the lid, but allow to cool before transferring to the fridge until required.
- Before serving, boil for another 2 hours, then rest for 20 minutes before removing from the pot.
Keep in the steaming container with the lid firmly secured, in the fridge for up to 6-8 weeks before serving.
Serve your Epic Paleo Christmas Pudding with:
- Paleo Banana Ice Cream
- Brandy Cream
- Brandy Custard
- Chop and mix with ice-cream and set in ice-block moulds
- Chop and use as a layer for trifle with custard, stewed fruit and fresh cream