For pudding it could only be the mighty steamed fruitcake variety! Our resident baker Leigh shared with us her tried and tested recipe, which is suitable for vegans and makes a great gift for family & friends (as long as you trust them to give you back your pudding bowls for next year.) Read on for Leigh's recipe and her top tips for Christmas pudding success.


Leighs Aromatic Fruity Christmas Pudding (Vegan)

Makes 2 large puddings and 1 medium


  • 2tsp mixed spice
  • ½ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 200g vegetarian suet
  • 125g white breadcrumbs
  • 200ml maple syrup
  • 1kg mixed vine fruit
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 300g dried figs, chopped
  • juice & zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 pear, peeled and grated
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled and grated
  • 150ml strongly brewed chai tea
  • 12 tbsp aquafaba (drained liquid from a can of chickpeas or other tinned beans)
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier – plus extra for feeding the puddings
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • non-dairy spread for greasing the pudding basins



Place spices, almonds, suet and breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix, then mix in all the remaining ingredients apart from the flour, stir really well and leave in a cool place overnight

(Tip – this creates a large volume of pudding mix so make sure you have a big enough bowl or container to hold it with enough room to mix it too.)

The next day, grease your pudding basins and add the flour to the mixture, stirring well

Fill the basins with the mix leaving an inch gap before putting on the lid

(Tip – I use Tupperware pudding basins with a lid, as it is much easier. You can be traditional and use ceramic basins, and seal them with baking parchment and foil, making a pleat in the top for expansion and tying with string.)

Place each pudding in a pan of simmering water, with a saucer on the bottom of the pan so the puddings do not burn.

Steam them for 6 hours, remembering to top up the water every half hour or so.

Once cooked, store in a cool place and feed with Grand Marnier as desired.

To heat, either microwave for 6 minutes, or steam the pudding for another 1 hour and 30 minutes.


Leighs Top Tips

Making the puddings is labour intensive because of the steaming time, so don’t promise lots of people Xmas puddings unless you’re prepared to spend 4 days in a kitchen that resembles a sauna.

If you don’t have Grand Marnier, you can use any cheap brandy you have lying around, however the Grand Marnier is a nice tipple to sample / drink whilst the puddings are cooking.

Make sure someone else is cooking dinner that night, or get a takeaway, as your kitchen will be in a shameful mess.

Play loud music while steaming the puddings and ignore any phone calls.

On day of making the puddings, do not style your hair, ditto, wear makeup, this is pointless, because of the steam, instead scrape your hair back and embrace the steam as part of a festive facial beauty treatment.

Do not, unless you are good at crafts and very careful (I am not), attempt to use the traditional basins with all the parchment, string etc, as you may, when topping up the pan with water, accidently get water in the puddings. If you are giving them as presents and want them to look nice, get some pretty material and wrap the puddings, then tie with ribbon (I also attach a candy cane, and a gift tag with instructions for reheating)

Ask for your pudding basins to be returned to you after Christmas (make sure people also return the lids!) so they can be used again. I find that telling friends that they will only get a pudding next year if they return the basin greatly helps their memories.