Roopa Gulati's vegetarian Christmas pudding recipe

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With Roopa Gulati's suet-free Christmas pudding, vegetarians get to enjoy all the highlights of Christmas without compromising on any of the taste.

  • Vegetarian
Serves8–10
SkillMedium
Preparation Time40 mins
Cooking Time4 hours
Cost RangeCheap

Chopped dates and golden syrup add a decadent sweetness to this vegetarian Christmas pudding, while candied peel and lemon zest give a citrusy burst of freshness.

TV chef and food writer Roopa Gulati turns a classic pudding into a vegetarian treat by replacing the suet with chilled butter. This vegetarian Christmas pudding takes significantly less time to steam than many other recipes – just 2-3 hours compared to six in Mary Berry’s classic Christmas pudding (opens in new tab) recipe. Served with rich brandy butter, this pud is every bit as delicious as its traditional counterpart.

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Pinch ginger powder
  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 150g chilled butter, diced
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 50g candied peel, diced
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 50g chopped dates
  • 50g honey or golden syrup
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60ml brandy

For the brandy butter

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 orange, grated rind
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp brandy

For the flaming:

  • 2 tsp caster sugar, for dredging
  • 4-6 tbsp brandy

Serving:

  • When you're ready to serve the puddings, return them to the pudding bowls and cover once more with greaseproof paper and secure with foil. Steam for about 45 minutes-1 hour, or until they have heated through.

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Method

  1. To make this steamed pudding, sieve the flour and spices into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs and add the sugar.
  2. Rub the butter into this mixture until it resembles a rough breadcrumb texture.
  3. Stir in the sultanas, raisins, peel, grated apple and chopped dates.
  4. Lightly whisk together the golden syrup, lemon rind and juice, eggs and brandy. Pour into the fruit mixture and stir well to combine everything together.
  5. Lightly grease 2 x 500ml pudding basins and spoon in the Christmas pudding mixture. Fill to within about 1 cm from the top of the bowls.
  6. Cover each pudding with a disc of greaseproof paper and secure with a double layer of foil, tied in place with string.
  7. Steam each pudding for 2-3 hours, until they have darkened and are firm to the touch. To save time you can cook them in a pressure cooker for about 30 mins.
  8. Leave to cool slightly before turning out.
  9. When completely cool, wrap each pudding in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin. This pudding tastes even better if given a month or so to mature after steaming.
  10. For the brandy butter: Beat the butter and orange rind until softened and gradually stir in the icing sugar, followed by the brandy. Don't add the brandy in one go, otherwise it might curdle. Turn the butter into a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Top tips for making this vegetarian Christmas pudding

Turn out the puddings onto a warmed platter and lightly dredge with caster sugar. Heat the brandy in a small saucepan and tip the pan towards the hob – the brandy should catch alight. Pour the flaming brandy over the puddings and serve straight away with the brandy butter. Accompany with piping-hot creamy custard.

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Rosie Hopegood
Rosie Hopegood


Rosie Hopegood is a former professional chef turned journalist with a passion for veggie food. She spent several years working as a chef aboard superyachts, catering for the culinary demands of the very rich and sometimes famous. She also worked as a private chef in the Swiss Alps, the Scottish Highlands, and the Balearic Islands. Later, she spent five years looking after the food pages at Reach Plc’s magazines. Rosie lives in New York and writes for Al Jazeera, Sunday Telegraph, and The Guardian.