This pudding recipe is inspired by a recipe which was passed down from Nana Brown, my Step dad’s mum. I made it gluten free, and vegan by using coconut oil instead of suet. You can substitute the dried fruit for your favourite and include glace cherries and citrus peel if you like them). It ideally should be made several months in advance to allow the flavours to develop but even a week is great. It needs to sit somewhere warm and dry, secured tied to ensure there is no mould. Wrap the pudding in a metre of unbleached calico which has been boiled in hot water before use.


  • 2 cups brandy
  • 250 grams brown sugar
  • 250 grams coconut oil
  • Equivalent of 3 eggs using No Egg egg replacer (follow instructions on the box)
  • 250 grams gluten free flour
  • 60 grams walnuts/almonds/nuts of choice
  • 1 kg mixed fruit (I used sultanas, currants, apple, peach, prunes and apricots)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or crushed gluten free cornflakes
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spices
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup/treacle
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 flat teaspoon carb soda in 1 tablespoon of hot water


  1. Soak fruit overnight in brandy.
  2. Melt coconut oil. Add  to large bowl with sugar, and egg replacer and stir well.
  3. Add mixed fruit, nuts, breadcrumbs and salt .
  4. Stir in golden syrup/treacle and orange zest and orange pieces.
  5. Sift flour and spices and stir into mixture.
  6. Add bicarb soda mixed in 1 tablespoon of hot water last.
  7. Use 1 metre of calico and lightly flour the inside of it where the pudding will sit.
  8. Place a piece of greased buttered paper to make the base.

To cook:

  1. Tie with string, leaving a small amount of room to swell.
  2. Boil in large boiler on a plate for 4 hours (top up with boiling water as needed). After this the pudding cloth (with pudding inside) should be allowed to dry completely.
  3. Hang pudding in a warm dry place for up to 3 months. If you do not have any hooks, it can be hung off a broom handle.
  4. Christmas Day, Boil for 1 to 2 hours to re-heat until pudding is piping hot.
  5. Serve hot  with warm custard

(When boiling, bring the water to the boil before inserting pudding/s. Rest them on a plate in the hot water)

Serves 12 or makes 12-15 small puddings


What about the lit Brandy, how much? and how long does it burn?

You only use a small amount of Brandy, generally about 1 tablespoon, (the flame is small and blue in colour, not easily seen in a brightly lit Kitchen) the flame goes out on it’s own within about 30 seconds. Make sure you warm the Brandy. Heat the empty spoon, not too hot, you only want the Brandy warm about blood temperature, then measure the Brandy onto the spoon, then, straight onto the pudding, and light! It’s always more impressive with the lights turned down.