Date and stem ginger Christmas pudding recipe

By Debbie Major

  1. Makes 1 x 1.2 litre pudding (feeds 8), 1 x 600ml pudding (feeds 4) and 1 x 300ml pudding (feeds 2)
  2. Takes 30 minutes to make, 5-6 hours to cook and reheat, plus overnight soaking
  3. Rating

After a massive lunch, you don’t need more than a small slice of Christmas pudding. Make sure it's a slice of this.

tried and tested
Date and stem ginger Christmas pudding


  1. 225g pitted dates, roughly chopped
  2. 150ml dark rum
  3. 225g currants
  4. 100g raisins
  5. 100g sultanas
  6. 100g good-quality candied peel, chopped
  7. 100g stem ginger, chopped, and 4 tbsp of the syrup
  8. Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  9. 1 large (about 300g) Bramley apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
  10. 100g self-raising flour
  11. ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  12. ½ tsp ground ginger
  13. 1½ tsp mixed spice
  14. Pinch of salt
  15. 100g light muscovado sugar
  16. 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  17. 150g shredded beef suet, vegetable suet or melted unsalted butter
  18. 50g blanched almonds, chopped
  19. 2 large, free-range eggs, beaten
  20. 120ml barley wine
  21. Butter, melted, for greasing


  1. 1. Put the dates in a pan with the rum and heat gently for 5 minutes until mushy. Stir in the dried fruit, candied peel, stem ginger and syrup, lemon zest and juice. Transfer to a big bowl, cover and leave overnight.
  2. 2. The next day, stir the grated apple into the soaked fruit. Sift in the flour, spices and salt, then add the sugar, breadcrumbs, suet/butter, almonds, eggs and barley wine. Mix well.
  3. 3. Divide among pudding basins and level the surfaces. For each basin, cut a sheet of foil big enough to cover the top generously, cover with a layer of baking paper, then brush the paper with melted butter. Fold a pleat down the centre of the sheets, then cover the top of each pudding basin, foil-side up. Smooth it down the outside, keeping the pleat in place to allow the pudding to rise, and tie in place under the rim with a double length of string. Use another double length of string to make a handle. Trim the foil and paper to about 3cm from the string.
  4. 4. Put trivets – or upturned saucers – into 3 pans large enough for each basin to fit comfortably, then add 4-5cm water and bring to a vigorous simmer. Carefully lower each pudding into a pan, cover and leave to steam for 4 hours for the 2 larger puddings and 2½ hours for the small one, checking the water now and then and topping up with boiling water when necessary. Remove and leave to cool. Re-cover with new baking paper and foil, then store in a cool larder or fridge until needed.
  5. 5. To reheat, steam as above for 1-2 hours, depending on the size. Turn out onto a plate and serve with athol brose cream.

Nutritional info

Per serving (based on 14): 386kcals, 13g fat (5.8g saturated), 4.7g protein, 60g carbs, 45.2g sugar, 0.5g salt

Wine Recommendation

Wow your guests with a glass of Australian liqueur Muscat – its unctuous flavours of spice, raisins and toffee are spot on here.


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