Chocolate & cherry Christmas pudding

Chocolate cherry pudding
Click on image to enlarge

A rich, decadent alternative to the usual flavours of a Christmas pudding, from food stylist Jane Hornby.

The pudding is light and moist and the silky smooth chocolate brandy sauce compliments it perfectly.

The recipe calls for frozen cherries but you can substitute them for cherries in juice so long as you drain them well. I do not recommend to use cherries in syrup as this will alter the texture and sweetness.

You can store the pudding for up to two months to allow the flavours to develop but if you are pushed for time it can be made just a few days before you want to eat it.

The original recipe can be found here at BBC good food

Serves 10 – 12


For the pudding:
200 g frozen dark sweet cherries defrosted, plus whole cherries to decorate
1 Conference pear or eating apple
100 g raisins
100 g sultanas
100 ml brandy
100 g bar dark chocolate
100 g unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp for greasing
2 large eggs
50 g plain flour
100 g dark soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp cocoa powder
50 g fresh breadcrumbs
For the chocolate brandy sauce:
100 g bar dark chocolate
120 ml double cream, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp brandy (optional)


Drain the cherries in a sieve over a bowl. Cut them in half. Peel the pear or apple then grate it coarsely.

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, pear, the raisins, sultanas and brandy. Stir well and cover with clingfilm.

Heat in the microwave on high for 3 mins, then leave to cool for 5 mins to let the fruit plump up. Break the chocolate into squares while you wait.

Tip the chocolate and butter into the hot fruit. Stir, then leave to melt. Let it cool, uncovered, for about 15 mins. Meanwhile, rub 1 tbsp butter around the inside of a 1-litre pudding basin.

Lay two sheets of foil over each other and butter the one on top. Holding both sheets together, fold a 3cm pleat across the middle of the foil and set aside.

Beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, mixed spice and cocoa powder on top of the chocolatey fruit, then add the breadcrumbs, eggs and ¼ tsp salt.

Stir everything together with a wooden spoon – it will be quite a wet mixture. Tip it into the buttered basin.

Cover the pudding with the buttered foil (buttery-side down), and scrunch it over the edge of the basin. Tie string tightly under the lip of the basin, and make a string handle to help you lower the basin in and out of the saucepan later.

Trim the foil so that a frill of about 5cm is left sticking out, then tuck the frill up and under itself neatly. The aim is to keep the pudding watertight beneath.

Put a heatproof saucer into the very large saucepan, then put the basin on top. Pour in just-boiled water to come halfway up the basin.

Cover the pan and steam the pudding for 2½ hrs, Topping up with boiling water if necessary. Test the pudding is cooked by inserting a skewer through the foil – if there is any wet mixture, steam for 15 mins more then check again. The pan should be simmering rather than boiling hard.

To store, let the pudding cool and leave in a cool dark place to mature. Don’t unwrap the foil. You can make this pudding up to two months before eating.

To reheat, steam in a pan for 30 mins, or microwave on medium for 5 mins. Remove the foil to microwave, covering with clingfilm instead.

For the sauce:
Break the chocolate into squares. Put all the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently, stirring, until smooth.

Serve the pudding topped with any remaining cherries, the sauce and a dollop of double cream.

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