Christmas steamed sponge pudding

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This festive steamed sponge pudding recipe is the perfect solution for those who find the classic Christmas pudding a tad too heavy. Based loosely on a syrup sponge pudding, but imbued with dried fruits and warming spices, this pudding makes a fantastic crowd-pleaser of a Christmas dessert.

First published in 2016
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Stir-up Sunday’ falls on the last Sunday before advent and is traditionally a day for families to make their Christmas pudding. When everyone takes a turn to stir the pudding and make a wish for the year ahead. But what if, like me, you are one of those people who really does not like Christmas pudding? Perhaps it is time to create a new tradition.

If you would like to try something a little different this year, this lighter steamed pudding is a great alternative, even if you do like Christmas pudding. It uses all the wonderful festive flavours of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, along with prunes, dates and golden syrup to create a deliciously moist sponge.

The pudding is so simple to make, yet looks just as impressive as the traditional version. I am sure this will become as much of a Christmas favourite in your house, as it is in mine.




Christmas steamed sponge pudding

  • 2 oranges, 1 juiced and zested, 1 cut into thin slices to decorate
  • 3 tbsp of golden syrup, plus extra to drizzle
  • 175g of unsalted butter, softened, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 175g of muscovado sugar, light
  • 3 eggs, medium, beaten
  • 75g of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 75g of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g of prunes, ready-to-eat, chopped
  • 75g of dates, ready-to-eat, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested


Generously grease the inside of a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding basin. Pour the golden syrup into the base and arrange the orange slices on the base and sides
Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy
Gradually add the beaten egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well between each addition
Sift the flour and spice into the bowl and fold in the breadcrumbs, chopped fruit, orange and lemon zest and juice with a large metal spoon (don’t worry if the mixture curdles)
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin and smooth the top
Cut out a large circles of buttered baking paper and foil (approximately 30cm/12 inches wide). Place one on top of the other and and create a 2.5cm/1 inch pleat down the middle
With the foil uppermost and buttered baking paper underneath, place on top of the pudding basin. Tie the foil and baking paper tightly around the bowl using a long piece of string. Trim away any excess paper and foil, leaving about 5cm/2 inches of foil and paper around the sides of the bowl. Tie a piece of string over the top to act as a handle
Place a small heatproof plate upside down in the bottom of a large saucepan and put the pudding basin on top. Pour in enough boiling water so that it comes halfway up the basin
Cover and steam for 2 hours over a medium heat, topping up with more boiling water as necessary
Turn out onto a plate, drizzle with the extra syrup and serve with cream or ice-cream. The pudding will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge
First published in 2016

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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