Unusual Christmas pudding ideas

Christmas pudding, lathered in brandy sauce or fresh cream, is a popular festive dessert.

Sticky ginger pear pudding

This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food Guide.


  • 85g golden syrup
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g butter, plus lots extra for greasing
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 balls stem ginger from a jar
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • Custard, to serve

For the ginger brandy syrup

  • 50ml syrup from the ginger jar
  • 100ml brandy
  • 85g dark muscovado sugar


  1. Put the syrup, sugar and milk into a saucepan, then bring to a simmer to dissolve. Leave to cool almost completely while you get on with everything else. Heat oven to 180C.
  2. Put the butter, flour, bicarb, ground ginger and cinnamon into a food processor, then pulse until it forms fine crumbs.
  3. Generously butter a 1.4-litre pudding basin and sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar into the bottom. Cut three of the ginger balls in half and put five halves, rounded-side down, into the bottom, like the points of a star.
  4. Cut one cheek from a pear, then slice through about 10 times, without cutting through the stalk end. Put this into the bottom of the bowl among the ginger, then press gently so that the pear fans out. Core, then thinly slice the remaining pear. Finely chop the rest of the ginger.
  5. Tip the cooled syrup mix and egg into a food processor, then quickly mix with the dry ingredients to a batter. Take out the blade, then stir in the chopped ginger and sliced pear.
  6. Scrape the mix into the basin, then bake for 1 hr 20 mins until risen and dark golden, and a skewer comes out clean. Whatever you do, don’t open the oven before 45 mins are up.
  7. To finish, gently melt the syrup ingredients in a pan together until the sugar dissolves, then boil briefly. Turn the pudding out of its basin just before serving, spoon over the syrup and serve with custard.


Christmas pudding bombe

This is one of Jamie Oliver’s Christmas recipes.


  • 2 x 500ml tubs of good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1 x 1kg panettone
  • 125ml Vin Santo
  • 3 heaped tablespoons good raspberry jam
  • 25g shelled pistachios
  • 75g tinned sour cherries, drained
  • 40g glacé clementines (or other glacé fruit), thinly sliced
  • 2 clementines, 1 peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), crushed


  1. Remove the ice cream from the freezer so it can soften a little while you get things ready. Line a two-litre pudding bowl with three layers of cling film. Use a serrated knife to slice four 2cm thick rounds off of your panettone then cut them in half. You’ll have some panettone left over, so keep this for another time.
  2. Arrange six of the slices in a single layer around the bowl and push them down if they overlap. Drizzle some Vin Santo around the sponge so it soaks in, then use the back of a spoon to smear the jam over the sponge.
  3. Add one tub of ice cream to the bowl and use the spoon to spread it around in a thick layer. Sprinkle in the pistachios, cherries and glacé fruit then layer the clementine slices on top. Add the other tub of ice cream. Spread it out, working quickly so the ice cream doesn’t completely melt. Put the rest of the panettone slices on top of the ice cream, drizzle over some more Vin Santo then cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Press a plate down on top to press everything down, then freeze overnight, or longer.
  4. When you’re ready to serve it, put the bashed-up chocolate in a bowl and get that over a pan of simmering water on a really low heat. Leave the chocolate to melt while you unwrap your amazing winter bombe and carefully turn it onto a beautiful serving dish. Add some clementine zest to the chocolate and, when it’s nicely melted, pour it over the top so it oozes down the sides and looks delicious.