I love the tradition of Christmas and all the preparation that goes with it. As a child, Christmas meant family get togethers and lots of great homemade food. Although my diet has now been adjusted due to being Coeliac, my passion for great food has just got stronger. Christmas and every day, I still continue to enjoy delicious food. With a few little tweaks along the way, homemade delights that I have enjoyed over the years can still fit into my gluten free diet perfectly.
This time, my recipe tweaks will be made to my Grandma’s Christmas pudding and my Mum’s Christmas cake recipes. The nostalgic feeling of retracing and baking their handwritten recipes is the best!! “Stir-up Sunday” is a tradition I have only just discovered. This year it falls on Sunday 26th November. It’s the day, when it’s said to be lucky to make a wish, whilst giving your Christmas pudding mixture a stir. It can be made into a real occasion, with each family member having their turn and making a wish as they stir…. perfect excuse for a little get together. So although a bit early, I’ve done my own little bit of “stirring up” and made my wish so I could check out my Grandma’s Christmas pud recipe before sharing it with you….
Gluten free Christmas Pudding
3oz Juvela gluten free white bread (rub or blend into bread crumbs)
*1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
Grated rind of a lemon
3oz soft brown sugar
1 medium cooking apple peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
3oz melted butter or *gluten free suet
*1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 1/2oz Juvela gluten free white mix
Mix all ingredients together and transfer into a buttered Pyrex or pot pudding basin. Cover the pudding, firstly with greaseproof paper and then foil over the top. Make a pleat in the paper and foil to allow the pudding to rise.
Tie securely around the bowl with string to make the pudding water tight, making a loop to make it easier to lift from the pan. Place the pudding into a steamer, set over water or use a large saucepan with enough water to come halfway up the pudding basin, sitting the pudding on a saucer on the bottom of the pan to protect from the direct heat.
Check each hour from then on to see if a water top-up is needed, to ensure it doesn’t boil dry. After 6 hours (I know it’s a long time but gives you chance to potter on with other things…maybe wrap your Christmas gifts with a few festive tunes playing in the background!) remove the pudding from the steamer. Watch out for the steam when removing, I allowed mine to cool a bit first
To store: Once completely cooled, remove the greaseproof and foil and wrap well with fresh greaseproof (directly against the pud) and foil and store in a cool dry place, or you can then place the wrapped pudding in a freezer bag and freeze. I’m going for the freeze option. I have also cut the pudding in half as would not use the whole one at once.
Defrost thoroughly before reheating. The pudding will require approximately three hours steaming to reheat or you can microwave until piping hot. It’s purely down to taste what you accompany your pudding with , cream, ice cream, rum butter, for me it has to be *brandy sauce. Although I can make my own, I cheat on this and generally pick up an M&S one as it’s rather good!!
“My Mums Christmas cake” has been a true delight to make. Not only did my Mum follow this recipe every year for our family Christmas cake (my job, was to then pop on the marzipan and top with thick peaks of royal icing and the Christmas decorations that I still have, and will go on our cake this year) but she also used the same recipe to make the three tiers of our wedding cake. With a little adaption I have made a gluten free version. Before I wrapped it tightly, I cut off a little piece to have with a cuppa, had to let you know it was OK…….and yep, it was so much more than OK!
Gluten free Christmas cake
2 tablespoon of Brandy (optional) (the night before making the cake, mix with dried fruit and cherries and cover to capture the flavour deep within the fruit)
7oz Juvela gluten free mix
*1 teaspoon of mixed spice
6 oz butter
6 oz sugar
*half a teaspoon nutmeg
*2oz ground almonds
*half a teaspoon of xanthan gum (holds the crumb structure together really well) 6oz butter 6oz soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of black treacle
Weigh all the ingredients into a large bowl. If you have pre-soaked the fruit in brandy add this to the weighed ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a lined 8” round or 7” square tin. It is good to also wrap a “collar”of greaseproof or brown paper around the tin a couple of inches past the top as it prevents the cake from getting burnt as it is in the oven for quite a while at Gas2, 275F, 135C or 120c in a fan oven. Generally would take about three hours, can check it just before if you like…usual way, pop in knife and if clean it’s all done!
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing cake and transferring to a cooling rack. Once cool wrap tightly in greaseproof and then foil. Store in an airtight container. I do “feed” my cake in the run up to Christmas by brushing brandy into the cake and then packing it up again!
It’s recommended to top with *marzipan a week before you are due to ice your cake as it allows it to time to dry out.
As I wanted a smaller cake, I halved the ingredients which was just the right amount to fill a 2lb loaf tin. I then cooked it for approximately 1 hour and half on 130c fan. It’s still a great size and just enough for me to cut at over Christmas!! It’s been great to get myself organised with a batch of Christmas gluten free baking and a true joy to be using treasured recipes.
It wasn’t the plan, but I realised that after my Christmas baking I still have over half a pack of Juvela gluten free mix left. Perfect quantity to make a batch of mince pies at a later date, check out to make sure the *mincemeat is gluten free. You can also use Juvela gluten free harvest mix instead if you require a dairy free option , simply replace the butter in the recipes for a dairy free spread. Juvela gluten free mix is available from pharmacies and chemist.net
Well that’s me for now. Hope your run up to Christmas is a magical, fun filled one and all your wishes come true.
*Check no gluten containing ingredient or “may contain” warnings on packets. If in doubt leave it out.