This healthy Christmas pudding recipe is lighter than a traditional Christmas pudding. It still has the heavenly flavour of spices and dried fruit, but it's refined sugar free, gluten free and lower in saturated fat. Healthy sugar free Christmas pudding is also a bit easier to enjoy and digest after a big festive feast!
- What you'll love about the recipe
- Ingredients for a healthy Christmas pudding
- Preparing the bowl for a steamed pudding
- How to make the pudding mixture
- How to cover a Christmas pudding
- How to steam your pudding in the slow cooker
- How to reheat healthy Christmas pudding
- Christmas pudding leftovers
- Storage and freezing
- Frequently asked questions
- Other healthy Christmas recipes
- Healthy Christmas Pudding
What you'll love about the recipe
- Healthy Christmas pudding is more nutritious than a traditional pudding
- Naturally sweetened with fruit. There's no refined sugar, just a couple of tablespoons of honey
- Gluten free and suitable for coeliacs. The recipe is flourless and grain free
- Healthy Christmas pudding is lighter in texture and calories
- An easy to make holiday dessert
- Suitable for slow cooker or steaming on the hob
Ingredients for a healthy Christmas pudding
- Sweet potato and apple. These make a sweet moist base for the pudding. If you don't have any leftover sweet potato puree, then 1 small-medium sweet potato, scrubbed, cubed and steamed for 12-15 minutes will produce 150 gr of puree. Make sure your applesauce is unsweetened. If you are preparing the applesauce specifically for this recipe, simmer one chopped dessert apple for 10 minutes. Allow the sweet potato and apple to cool before adding to the other ingredients.
- Ground almonds. Ground almonds are a replacement for flour or breadcrumbs in this gluten free Christmas pudding recipe. They add a delicious taste and texture, and are rich in vitamin E and fibre. If you'd like some extra crunch in your Christmas pudding, add a handful of chopped nuts as well - either almonds or pecans are delicious.
- Butter. There is very little butter in this dessert, but if you prefer, you could replace it with coconut oil or olive oil to make a dairy free Christmas pudding. This lower fat Christmas pudding recipe will remain moist due to the sweet potato and apple sauce.
- Egg: this helps to bind the pudding together. I've never tried the recipe with a flax or chia egg for a vegan Christmas pudding, but as there's only one egg in the recipe, my hunch is that it would work. (Please do make a note in the comments section if you decide to try an egg replacement.)
- Honey. Just a touch of honey adds to the natural sweetness of the fruits and spices. If you prefer, you could use maple syrup or molasses. You could also use a liquid sweetener for a sugar free Christmas pudding
- Baking powder: a very small amount of baking powder adds a slight lift to your pud
- Mixed dried fruits. Choose whichever fruits you prefer. You could simply use a bag of mixed dried fruit, or put together your own favourite mixture. Prunes, dried figs, and apricots would all be delicious, and complement the flavour of the pudding. Dried cherries or cranberries would also work well.
- Spices: These are a vital part of the traditional Christmassy flavour. I've included cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger and nutmeg. A pinch of cardamom and cloves would also go well. If you like, you can simply replace all the spices with 2 teaspoons of mixed ground spice.
- Brandy and orange zest are two other flavours that speak of Christmas. You could of course use another type of alcohol that you prefer, such as rum, whisky or ginger wine. If you heat brandy, it will lose its alcoholic content, but if you prefer not to include alcohol, use fruit juice, or black or rooibos tea.
Preparing the bowl for a steamed pudding
I like to put a small circle of buttered greaseproof paper in the base of the greased heatproof pudding dish. This ensures that the Christmas pud can be easily turned out.
This recipe will fill a one pint (570ml) pudding basin.
How to make the pudding mixture
It's really easy to make the mixture for this no added sugar Christmas pudding, and it'll be ready to cook in less than 20 minutes.
Place the dried fruits, spices, orange zest and brandy in a pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat. This will make the dried fruit extra juicy and moist, and bring out the lovely Christmassy flavour of the spices.
Mix the the sweet potato puree, apple sauce, egg, melted butter and honey in a bowl. You can use either a hand mixer, immersion blender, or mix it well with a spoon.
Add the ground almonds and baking powder, and mix again until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Add the soaked fruit mixture and mix again. If you are using a food processor or blender, switch to a spoon now so that the fruit doesn't get chopped up by the blades.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared bowl.
How to cover a Christmas pudding
You'll need to cover your sugar free Christmas pudding to protect it from the steam. Place a double layer of foil over the top of the bowl, and tie firmly with string. Put a small pleat in the foil to allow space for the pudding to rise a little.
How to steam your pudding in the slow cooker
The traditional way to cook a Christmas pudding is to steam it, and that works well for this healthy alternative. I always steam puddings in the slow cooker, as there's no danger of it boiling dry. Simply place your oven proof bowl directly in the slow cooker pot, add 5cm hot water around the edge of the bowl, or until the water comes halfway up the bowl. Cook on low for 2 and a half hours. The cooked pudding should be set and slightly risen.
If you don't have a slow cooker, you can steam your pudding on the hob. Place the bowl in a large lidded pan on an upturned heatproof saucer, pour in 5 cm boiling water, and place over a low heat. Simmer very gently for 2 hours. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure that the water doesn't boil dry - keep it at the same level by topping up with boiling water from the kettle if necessary.
How to reheat healthy Christmas pudding
The best way to reheat your pudding is to steam it again. 1.5 hours either in the slow cooker or on the hob should ensure that a whole pudding this size is heated through.
Serve with Easy homemade custard - it takes just a few minutes to make, and is the perfect complement to Christmas pudding.
Christmas pudding leftovers
If there's any leftover pudding, it's particularly delicious as a filling for baked apples. Core the apple, place small spoonfuls of pudding in the hole, and bake for 30-45 minutes. You can also make slow cooker stuffed apples.
Storage and freezing
Unlike a traditional recipe, I wouldn't recommend storing this healthy Christmas pudding for more than a few days due to its moisture content. However, it does freeze well, so if you want to get ahead, wrap the pudding carefully and freeze for up to 3 months.
Frequently asked questions
A traditional Christmas pudding contains a high amount of fat, usually in the form of suet, and a lot of added sugar. The label on a supermarket Christmas pudding puts it in the red category for sugar, and amber for saturated fat, and that's before you add any accompaniments. This no added sugar Christmas pudding recipe contains a small amount of butter, and healthy oil from ground almonds. The result is a light Christmas pudding with a delicious Christmassy flavour but lighter texture.
Christmas pudding is relatively high in calories because of the high amount of fat and sugar that it contains. Try this lighter alternative which is sweetened with a couple of tablespoons of honey, and the natural sweetness that comes from fruit, spices and sweet potato.
No, most Christmas pudding recipes are made with wheat flour which contains gluten. You'll need to make or buy a specific gluten free Christmas pudding. This healthy flourless recipe uses ground almonds as an alternative to flour and is naturally gluten free.
Stir up Sunday, when Christmas puddings are traditionally made, is 5 weeks before Christmas. The combination of sugar, dried fruit and alcohol means that a traditional pudding keeps well. However, this healthy sugar free Christmas pudding won't store as well so if you want to make it weeks ahead you'll need to freeze it.
Other healthy Christmas recipes
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. Or subscribe to the newsletter to receive delicious healthy recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Christmas Pudding
- 150 ml sweet potato puree see ingredients notes above
- 70 ml applesauce or cooked apple
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 100 g ground almonds
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 150 g mixed dried fruits see notes above
- 3 tablespoon brandy see notes above
- grated zest of half an orange
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ tablespoon ground ginger
- grating of nutmeg or use ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Place the dried fruits, brandy, orange zest and spices in a pan, and simmer for 2 mins. Leave to cool, most of the liquid will evaporate.
- Place the sweet potato, apple, egg, melted butter and honey in a bowl and mix well, with a hand mixer or spoon, until you have a smooth consistency. Add the ground almonds and baking powder and mix thoroughly again. Add the dried fruit mixture and stir together by hand with a spoon.
- Butter a 570ml/1 pt oven proof pudding bowl. Cut a small circle of greaseproof paper and place in the bottom. Spoon the pudding into the bowl. Cover with a double layer of foil, which you have folded to make a small pleat. Tie the foil firmly in place with string.
- Place the pudding bowl either in your slow cooker, or on an upturned heatproof saucer in a large lidded pan. Add 5cm boiling water (the water should come half way up the pudding bowl). Cook on a low heat for 2.5 hrs in the slow cooker or 2 hrs on the stove. The cooked pudding will be set and slightly risen.
- Remove from the water and leave the pudding to cool in the bowl, unless you are eating it immediately.
- The best way to reheat this healthy Christmas pudding is to steam it again. One and a half hours will be sufficient to heat a pudding this size.
- This pudding will keep well for 3 or 4 days, but if you want to store it for longer, it's best to freeze it. Wrap well before freezing.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.