Gluten- and dairy-free Armagnac Christmas pudding

7 hours


  • 150g of prunes, roughly chopped
  • 100g of dried cherries
  • 100g of sultanas
  • 75g of currants
  • 50g of stem ginger, in syrup, roughly chopped
  • 150g of Armagnac, plus extra for flaming
  • 100g of rice flour
  • 60g of ground almonds
  • 60g of quinoa flakes, (or polenta or gluten-free oats)
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 125g of vegetable fat, frozen
  • 75g of rhubarb, fairly finely chopped
  • 150g of coconut sugar, or soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste, (or seeds from 2 vanilla pods)
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 3 tbsp of date syrup, (or syrup from the jar of stem ginger)
  • 25g of flaked almonds


The day before you want to make your puddings, put the prunes, dried cherries, sultanas, currants and chopped ginger in a bowl, pour in the Armagnac, cover and leave overnight. If you haven’t yet put your vegetable fat in the freezer, do it now
Lightly grease 2 pudding basins – each about 1 litre in capacity or just under. You can use traditional pudding basins, but the plastic ones with lids are easiest and the puddings cook better
Put 2 large lidded pans of water on the hob to boil – make sure each is big enough to accommodate your pudding basin
Put the flour, ground almonds, quinoa flakes and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Grate the frozen vegetable fat into the bowl, tossing it into the flour mix as you go
Add all the other ingredients, including the soaked fruit and its Armagnac marinade. Mix well with a wooden spoon
Divide the mixture between the two basins. If it’s a plastic one, just pop the lid on. Cover with foil if you’re the belt-and-braces type, then lower gently into the boiling water, which needs to come about halfway up the side of the basin. If your basin doesn’t have a lid, cover with a sheet of baking parchment and a sheet of foil and tie with string before lowering into the pan
Put the pan lids on and turn the heat down to moderately high. Cook initially for about 3 1/2 hours. Keep checking every 30 minutes or so and top up with more boiling water as necessary
Once cooled, the part-cooked puddings should now keep in a cool dark place for about a month or can be frozen for up to a year, then defrosted
On the day you want to serve the pudding – probably Christmas Day, but it’s your call – boil again for another 3 hours, then remove the lid and upturn onto a plate
If you have time on your hands, decorate with ‘holly leaves’ of sliced stem ginger and ‘holly berries’ of any leftover marinated cherries
Douse with more warmed Armagnac and ignite if you like. Serve with vanilla-laced cream, a dairy-free ice cream or the accompaniment of your choice