Fabulously festive Christmas desserts
The trustworthy, traditional Christmas pudding holds a very special place in our hearts, particularly with the ritual of gathering the family for Stir Up Sunday (the final Sunday before Advent). While a Christmas pudding is as non-negotiable for us as turkey and a tree, we like to use this indulgent season to explore new recipes for sweet treats to enjoy throughout December. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas pudding alternative or easy Christmas desserts to serve throughout the season, these easy-to-follow recipes will prove to be real crowd-pleasers.
This recipe has been in Liz’s family for over a century, and it’s truly stood the test of time. Making the pudding well in advance gives it plenty of time to develop a really rich flavour. Christmas puddings can last for months if you keep them well-fed with brandy and store them in a cool, dark place covered with pleated foil and greaseproof paper (a larder or storecupboard is ideal – though a fridge will do if you can forego the space). When we’ve been over-ambitious with our quantities, we’ve been known to keep a pudding from one year to the next…
Another Christmas staple, it always helps to have a go-to mince pie recipe up your sleeve at this time of year. We like to top ours with a marzipan star instead of a pastry lid, which gives them a little boost of vitamin E, which helps to maintain healthy skin and a strong immune system – ideal during the winter months.
Poached pears are a deceptively simple dessert to make. Soaking them in spice-rich mulled wine gives the pears an extra festive twist. They’re a delicious grown-up alternative to Christmas pudding, and act as a perfect palate cleanser after a rich main course. While boiling them removes nearly all the alcohol, this dessert is probably best saved for grown-ups…
This mixed berry pavlova is a light, refreshing, yet decadent-tasting dessert to round off a heavy meal – especially at Christmas time. Piled high with plump figs, dusted with edible gold glitter and jewelled with pomegranate seeds and redcurrants, it’s a show-stopping dessert that looks truly festive.
Not everyone likes fruitcake and a traditional Christmas cake needs to be made well in advance of the day itself. So if you don’t have the time or need a last minute treat to serve, here’s one of my all-time favourite alternative Christmas cakes that’s gluten-free too.