The Queen's Christmas Pudding


Even if you don't like dried fruit, you'll agree this Christmas pudding is special and delicious. There's no sugar added, and no spices, either—it's perfect as is! Serve with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, or crème anglaise.

Prep Time:
50 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
12 hrs 55 mins
8 servings

A Truly Regal Holiday Dessert

I'm not British, so I didn't grow up eating Christmas pudding, but as a young boy signing in the school chorus, I did participate in a Madrigal Concert every year at Christmas. It was a basically a holiday-themed buffet dinner with us students providing the free entertainment. We literally had to sing for our supper. And yes, I still know all the words to "Scarborough Fair."

The highlight of the evening was a procession through the dinning hall, where a rather large Christmas pudding was paraded around while we sang some song I can't remember. After which, the pudding was cut and served, and everybody hated it. Or, at least us kids did, and we couldn't figure out why the adults seemed to be enjoying it so much. Eventually, we figured out it was probably all that wassail they drank.

Anyway, despite not being a fan at a young age, I do love The Great British Baking Show, and I'm huge fans of both Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. And after seeing them present versions of this impressive steamed fruitcake over the years, I decided to give it a go, and I was very happy with the results. So happy in fact, I deemed it "fit for a Queen," as the name would indicate. This has a great texture, a lovely taste, and contains no added sugar, and I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 15 medium Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped

  • ¼ cup currants

  • cup golden raisins

  • 1 cup dried cranberries

  • cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

  • 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey

  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ¼ cups roughly chopped pecans

  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • ¼ cup maple syrup (Optional)


  1. Select a heat-proof bowl of any size or shape and generously grease with butter.

  2. Combine dates, apricots, currants, raisins, cranberries, ginger, whiskey, orange zest, and orange juice in a mixing bowl. Toss thoroughly to combine.

  3. Pour in melted butter and stir until everything is evenly coated. Mix in egg, heavy cream, and buttermilk. Add salt, pecans, bread crumbs, and flour and mix until batter is very thick and sticky.

  4. Transfer dough to the prepared bowl and press it down to flatten with a spatula. Place a circle of parchment paper over the top and press down to seal. Stretch 2 pieces of plastic wrap over the bowl, then place the bowl on a third piece of plastic wrap. Bring the ends up and over the bowl and seal tightly. Cover the bowl with 2 pieces of foil, then tie a piece of string around and secure tightly.

  5. Place in the refrigerator, 8 hours to overnight.

  6. Lay rosemary sprigs in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Place the wrapped pudding on the rosemary sprigs and fill the Dutch oven halfway with water.

  7. Place over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce heat to medium and steam, covered, for 4 hours, checking every hour to see if you need to add more water.

  8. Use kitchen towels and carefully lift the pudding out of the Dutch oven. Snip the string, take off the foil, remove the plastic wrap, and peel off the parchment. Place a plate over the bowl and invert the pudding to unmold.

  9. Brush maple syrup over top. Cut and serve immediately.

    close up view of Christmas Pudding garnished with currant berries on a white plate
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

When chopping your dried fruit, grease the sides of your knife with a little vegetable oil so the fruit doesn't stick as much.

You can use a clementine or a couple of tangerines for the orange, regular milk plus the juice of ½ medium lemon for the buttermilk, and any nut of choice for the pecans.

Pudding can be cooked immediately if need be, but better if left to rest.

You can use chopsticks instead of rosemary sprigs, and golden syrup instead of maple syrup.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

717 Calories
34g Fat
101g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 717
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 217mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 101g 37%
Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
Protein 9g
Potassium 934mg 20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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