Gluten-free Christmas pudding

Still a great flavour and crumb: Arabella Forge's gluten-free pudding.
Still a great flavour and crumb: Arabella Forge's gluten-free pudding. Photo: Pat Scala
Dietary
Gluten-free

My grandmother was famous for her traditional Christmas pudding and it was one thing I really missed when I switched to a gluten-free diet. But it didn't take me long to create my own version. This pudding has the classic bread-like texture of traditional puddings but without grains or gluten. Sago (tapioca) gives a delicious chewy texture while the sweet potato and almond meal ensure a moist crumb and psyllium husk provides a fluffiness and elasticity on par with gluten flours. Add a touch more brandy and marsala if you prefer a stronger flavour.

Ingredients

Pudding base

2/3 cup (70g) coconut flour

1/2 cup (35g) psyllium husk

grated zest of 1 small orange and 1 small lemon

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons almond meal

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/4 cup finely grated sweet potato

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup treacle

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

120g butter; room temperature and cut into small chunks (or lard for dairy-free)

3 eggs, whisked

1/2 cup sago tapioca balls

1 cup milk (use a quality almond milk for dairy-free)

Fruit mix

5 tbsp currants

4 tbsp sultanas

5 medjool dates; pitted and finely chopped

1 tablespoon marsala ( I like Boronia brand)

1 teaspoon brandy

Method

1. Combine the fruit and alcohol (fruit mix) in a small bowl and leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the pudding mix.

2.Whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and treacle. Stir through the remaining ingredients and mix well. Finally, stir through the fruit-alcohol mixture until well combined.

3. Pour mixture into 1.5 litre capacity pudding bowl, making sure that there is a minimum of 2.5cm space at the top of the bowl to allow the pudding to expand. Cover the top of the bowl with a sheet of grease-proof paper and secure this with a rubber band and string.

4. Steam the pudding Immerse pudding into a large cooking pot and fill pot with water so that it reaches halfway up the bowl. Cover cooking pot with tight-fitting lid and place on stove-top. Bring the pot to a gentle boil and continue to cook for a minimum of three hours. Check water levels regularly. The pudding is cooked when the sago balls become clear and a skewer comes out clean.

5. To serve I like to insert a $2 coin into the base of the pudding before flipping the pudding onto a serving dish. Serve warm with cream and fresh berries or cherries.

Leftovers also make a wonderful addition to my Christmas pudding ice-cream.

Paleo? Simply switch the sweetener to honey or maple syrup and replace the butter with lard.