Christmas Pudding is one dessert that divides the nation.
Your dad is likely the only person who looks forward to this boozy British enigma every year, complete with lashings of brandy butter, of course. Staunch traditionalists and dads aside, no one classes Christmas Pudding as a serious Yuletide contender, not when sticky toffee pudding breathes the same air. Any dessert that insists on flames is overcompensating for something. The heat carries it.
With that in mind, we’ve foraged the internet for the best unconventional Christmas Day desserts, some of which take inspiration from the traditional boozy mound adored by dads and others that completely disrupt the status quo.
Grab a spoon, a fork or your bare hands for all we care, here are 7 desserts that deserve a place at your dinner table this December. Now read the room and f*ck off, figgy pudding.
Flourless Chocolate Cloud Cake
Flourless chocolate cake? We know, we were sceptical too, but this is one of Richard Sax’s most iconic recipes so trust the process! Plus, any cake that needs to look like it’s given up on life and caved in on itself is a host’s best friend, for the margin for error is conveniently roomy. Don’t blame us if your dinner guests fall silent. The cake knows how to work a room.
- Heat the oven to 175°C
- Line the bottom of a 20cm springform pan with baking parchment (do not butter the pan or parchment).
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Ensure it’s not touching the water. Once melted, remove from the heat and
- In two small bowls, separate 4 of the egg yolks (keep hold of the whites for later). In a large bowl, mix 2 whole eggs with the 4 egg yolks and 100g of the sugar until just combined. Add in the melted chocolate slowly. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Whisk in the cognac or Grand Marnier and the orange zest.
- Using a handheld mixer and a separate bowl, mix the 4 egg whites for 2 minutes until foamy. Add the remaining 100g sugar gradually and beat until it’s glossy with soft peaks that hold their shape (about 5 minutes more).
- Gently fold a ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. This is the satisfying part so take your time. It will soothe your soul. Slowly work in the rest of the egg whites.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on a rack in the centre of the oven for 35-40 mins until the top is puffy and cracked.
- Let the cake cool in the pan on the rack so it collapses in the centre. Don’t panic – it’s meant to do that!
- Whilst the cake cools, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form.
- Using a spatula, fill the sunken centre of the cake with the whipped cream to the edges of the crater. Dust with cocoa powder for a festive touch.
- Run the edge of a knife around the edge of the cake then remove the sides of the pan and cut into hunks to serve.
Source: Food 52
Croissant and Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding
Want a way to step up your Christmas Pudding game? We give you > pastries slathered in marmalade and sprinkled with chocolate. This new twist on the beloved classic bread and butter pudding gives this traditional family treat the kind of modern glow up that’s guaranteed to have your guests diving in for seconds.
- Heat the cream and milk in a pan until it’s close to boiling then remove from the heat. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, add the cream and stir. Go in with the Grand Marnier / orange-flavoured liqueur and set aside.
- Butter a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish. Spread each pastry half with marmalade and layer into the dish. Sprinkle with choc!
- Pour the custard mix over the croissants and leave to soak for 15 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Bake through for 25-30 minutes until softly set (slightly wobbly) and golden.
Clementine & Chocolate Christmas Pudding
This alternative Christmas Pudding creation from baker and food writer, Edd Kimber, spells the end of the brandy butter’s longstanding reign as Kimber calls for chocolate sauce this time around. Standing ovation for this controversial stroke of genius, please. Someone will have to break the news to pa but other than that *slight* inconvenience, it’s the modern meets retro remix every feuding family needs on their side.
- Lightly grease a 1.1 litre pudding basin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Put the dried fruit and peel in a bowl and pour over the Armagnac. Set aside for a few hours to soak.
- Using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter, muscovado sugar and clementine zest into a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well between each.
- In another bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, spices, breadcrumbs and almonds, then add to the mixture, along with the soaked dried fruit, chocolate, apple and clementine juice. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Scrape the mixture into the pudding basin and level off. Put a sheet of baking parchment on top of a sheet of foil and fold a pleat in the middle. Place foil-side up on top of the pudding and fold the excess down over the sides of the basin. Tie with string to secure in place and cut off any excess foil/parchment.
- Fill a large saucepan halfway with water and place an upturned saucer on the bottom. Bring the water to the boil and put the pudding on top of the saucer. Reduce the temperature to a simmer, then cover and steam for 3 hours 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, checking every so often and topping up with water if needed.
- While the pudding is steaming, make the candied clementines. Preheat the oven to 100°C, gas mark ¼. Put the sugar and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the clementine slices, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the fruit looks translucent (about 2 hours). Carefully lift the slices from the syrup and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until they’re a little less wet (just slightly tacky). Set aside until needed.
- Carefully lift the pudding from the pan and uncover. Invert onto a plate and set aside. For the sauce, put the chocolate and cream in a small pan and stir together over a low heat until smooth. Pour over the pudding and decorate with a few of the clementine slices (the rest can be left to dry overnight and then kept in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks).
Source: Waitrose Food
Tutti Frutti Pavlova with Marshmallow Meringue
Edible centrepiece? Completed it pal. Topped with sweet, syrupy glacé cherries, pistachios and mixed peel, you’d be forgiven for telling your relatives this is a mock meringue, purely for display purposes only. “Not to be eaten this one, sorry Aunty B. It’s polystyrene. Plenty of Christmas Pudding leftover though…”
- Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2 and lightly grease a large baking tray. Using a pencil, trace around a 25cm/10in plate onto baking paper and then flip it over onto the greased baking tray.
- To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form, then slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, allowing the crystals to melt. As soon as you have used all the sugar and you have stiff peaks, add the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla and whisk one last time to incorporate.
- Spoon or pipe the meringue into the circle on the baking paper, as neatly or roughly as you like. Create a slight indent in the centre, where the cream will sit.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour. When the hour is up, turn the oven off and leave the meringue in there until the oven is totally cold. Pop onto a serving dish or leave in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.
- To make the filling, whisk the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar and cornflour until you have soft peaks. Add about half of the chopped cherries, pistachios and mixed peel and gently fold through, reserving the rest for the top.
- Take two spoons and dollop the cream mixture onto the meringue. Finally, scatter with the rest of the cherries, pistachios and mixed peel and sprinkle all over with the chocolate shavings.
Source: Nadiya Hussain
Boozy Sticky Toffee Trifles
Forget words of affirmation, this is the only love language that matters. Cinnamon whipped cream mingles with layers of sticky toffee cake, butterscotch pudding, whisky and candied pecans to create a dessert that’ll single handedly see you through the Queen’s speech. Sure, these merry trifles can be quite time consuming, but you can’t hurry love.
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Add the brown sugar and salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch until well combined.
4. Whisk in the egg and egg yolks.
5. Pour the remainder of the milk into the brown sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
6. Whisk in the egg/cornstarch mixture.
7. Return the pan to the heat, and bring the mixture to the boil. Whisk frequently so no clumps form.
8. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and whisk constantly for an additional minute.
9. Once the pudding thickens, remove from heat and stir in the whisky and vanilla extract.
10. If clumps have formed, pour the mixture through a strainer.
11. Pour the mixture into a large heat proof bowl and press some plastic wrap over the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
12. Let the pudding chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (160°C fan)
2. Grease an 8×8 pan.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the dates with 3/4 cup of water.
4. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
5. Puree the dates and water in a blender and cool.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
7. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy.
8. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and date puree. Beat to combine.
9. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
10. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
11. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
12. Invert the cake onto the rack and leave to cool completely.
The toffee sauce:
1. Combine the sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Continue to cook over medium heat for an additional 3 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add the whisky and vanilla extract.
5. Stir to combine.
Cinnamon whipped cream:
1. With an electric mixer (if using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
2. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and beat just until you get stiff peaks.
1. In a large bowl, crumble the cake into pieces.
2. Pour the toffee sauce (rewarm to a pourable consistency if it has thickened) over the cake and mix together until the sauce is evenly distributed.
3. In a wine glass (or container of your choice) add a layer of the cake mixture at the bottom of the glass.
4. Top with a layer of butterscotch pudding.
5. Add a layer of whipped cream (I used a piping bag to do this).
6. Top with candied pecans. Repeat this process.
7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Source: The Cake Merchant
For an easy no-bake option you can whip together in 45 mins flat (+3 hours for chilling), look no further than this tipsy Tiramisu. Sponge fingers soaked in coffee and sweet almond liqueur and topped with Baileys Irish Cream – this spongy wintertime dessert is the perfect way to conclude your Christmas day dinner.
1. Mix the coffee and amaretto in a shallow bowl. Whip the cream, mascarpone, sugar, Baileys and vanilla together in another bowl until it forms soft peaks. Transfer to a large piping bag with a wide, round nozzle (about 2cm) and chill.
2. Dip the sponge fingers into the coffee for a few seconds on each side until they’re well soaked but not collapsing, then add a single layer to a 20cm serving dish, using about half of the sponge fingers.
3. Pipe over half of the cream, then layer on more soaked sponge fingers, and pipe the remaining cream, in blobs, in an even layer over the top. Chill until ready to serve for at least 3 hours. Sieve over the cocoa powder to cover all the cream just before serving.
Source: Olive Magazine
You don’t get more festive than gingerbread, so if you want a failsafe Christmas crowd-pleaser with all the chef’s kiss appeal, look no further than this winter spice cheesecake showstopper.
For the Base:
- Preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan.
- Blitz your Biscuits to a fine crumb, add in the melted butter and blitz again.
- Press the biscuit down into the bottom of a 20cm/8″ deep springform tin. Leave to the side for now.
For the Cheesecake:
- Mix your cream cheese on its own till smooth (10-20 seconds).
- Gradually add in the light brown sugar, black treacle, and plain flour, without mixing for too long.
- Add in the vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and then gradually add in the eggs one at a time. The less you mix the better.
- Once mixed, fold through the soured cream, and then pour the cheesecake mix on top of the base.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 110°C /90°C fan, and bake for 35-45 minutes. It should have a small wobble in the middle, but mainly be solid.
- Once baked, leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar, for 2 hours.
- Once cooled, leave to set in the fridge overnight.
For the Decoration:
- Whip together your cream, icing sugar and ginger until thick and pipeable!
- Take your cheesecake out of the tin, smother some cream on the cheesecake, and then pipe on some swirls.
- Add on some Gingerbread Men for decoration, and sprinkle over some gingerbread crumbs and sprinkles.
Source: Jane’s Patisserie