Christmas is the time of the year when we spend quality time with our family and friends, when we exchange presents and delicious food and celebrate old family traditions. It’s a great time of the year, but also a time when we can feel under pressure and stressed because of all the family expectations and obligations we often have during the holidays.
From buying the presents to organising the Christmas meal, things can get quite complicated sometimes! And let’s face it: being the only one in the family with special dietary requirements can make things a bit more challenging - especially if you’ve recently switched to a vegan diet. During the Christmas gatherings you may face a lot of questions, misunderstandings, mistakes, and in some cases, also the judgemental attitude of those who don’t understand why you’ve changed (and almost take it personally!).
And on top of that, there aren’t many vegan options on your traditional Christmas menu, right? So, how can you deal with all of this? If you’re concerned that the holidays may be more complicated this year because you’ve gone vegan, don’t be! But we suggest that you do a little bit of preparation to prevent potential problems and avoid disappointment and tensions.
Some of your friends and family may be curious or intrigued by your choices and may decide to add some vegan dishes to the menu as a nice gesture to you. But if this is not the case, then you should get ready to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the preparations!
After all, it will also be a good excuse for you to prepare some of your favourite dishes and share them with your family. They may like your cuisine and become interested in plant-based eating. Others will discover something new and appreciate your efforts. Food is always the best way to get everyone on board!
So, what should you bring to your Christmas family meal? Many people still don’t believe it’s possible to make delicious cakes without eggs and dairy, so why not surprise your family and friends with some delicious plant-based desserts.
As surprising as this may seem, it’s definitely possible to veganise the Christmas pudding recipe: it will taste as delicious as the traditional recipe but it will be a little bit lighter… which is not a bad thing after a rich Christmas meal!
Are you ready to get busy in the kitchen? Time to try our vegan Christmas pudding recipe!
Cooking time: 90mins
Vegan margarine (15g)
Milled flaxseed (5g)
Vegan butter (100g)
Soft light brown sugar (100g)
Soya milk (150ml)
Vanilla extract (7tsp)
Self raising flower (180g)
Cocoa powder (50g)
Grd cinnamon (2g)
Bicarbonate soda (0.5tsp)
Dairy free chocolate chips (100g)
Dried apricots (150g)
1. Start by thoroughly greasing a 1-1.2 litre pudding basin with vegan margarine. Place a disc of baking parchment in the bottom to prevent the top of the pudding from sticking. Pop the kettle on.
2. Mix together the flaxseed and 45ml of the orange juice in a small bowl to make a flax egg; set aside for at least 10 minutes to go gloopy. It should have the consistency of a raw egg.
3. Place the vegan butter, light brown sugar and remaining orange juice into a large pan over a low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.
4. Mix the soy milk, vanilla extract, orange zest and the flax egg into the melted mixture then sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt and whisk until no lumps of flour remain. Stir through the chocolate chips. Place the apricots into the bottom of the pudding basin and spread evenly.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared basin and spread level.
6. Cut a square piece of baking paper that is approximately 3 cm bigger than the top of your pudding basin, and then cut a square piece of foil that is approximately 6 cm bigger than the top of your pudding basin. Place the baking paper in the middle of the foil and make a crease down the centre (this will allow for expansion when the sponge is cooking.)
7. Place the foil and baking paper (baking paper facing the batter) on top of the pudding basin and press the foil over the edges, tucking it under with your fingers.
8. Tie a length of string very tightly around the foil (there should be a lip on the pudding basin; tie the string just under that).
9. Place a saucer upside down in a large saucepan and place the pudding basin on top, add enough boiling water from the kettle to cover the saucer but not the pudding basin. You want steam to be able to move around the pan.
10. Place a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat at a gentle simmer for approximately one and a half hours. Check after an hour to see if the water needs topping up but resist taking the lid off the pan too often. Once done remove the foil and baking paper and test the sponge with a skewer to see if it comes out clean with no cake batter. Gently place a plate on top of the pudding bowl and then turn the bowl upside down onto the plate. Your pudding should gently decant onto the plate ready to serve. This is great with a glassy chocolate sauce or vegan vanilla ice cream.
You’ll see that your family will love it!
But there’s a small issue. As you’ve probably already noticed, when it comes to veganising traditional foods, you’ll always find some people who are very attached to the original recipe and will try to tease you or even criticise your veganised version.
If you think this may happen to you and don’t want to fall in this dynamic, you could try and do things a bit differently by adding a creative twist to the recipe. In fact, if you add your own personal touch to the Christmas pudding, it won’t be possible to compare it with the traditional, non-vegan version. It will be your take on the Christmas pudding, your creative version rather than a veganised pudding.
This will spare you all the judgemental comments such as “it’s not as good as the original”, or “I can taste that this or that ingredient are missing”. And after all, it’s great to have culinary traditions, but it’s also great to keep changing them, inventing and innovating.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some ideas on how you could play with the tradition and make your vegan Christmas pudding even better:
You can’t beat the combination of hazelnuts and dark chocolate! So why not add some ground hazelnuts and chocolate chips to the recipe?
Another option could be to melt some chocolate in a little bit of almond milk, pour it on the pudding and sprinkle some ground hazelnuts on the cake once it’s ready.
Delicious and beautifully presented!
Another delicious combination is pear and ginger. You could add some chopped pears and some fresh grated ginger to the cake for an even spicier flavour.
You can’t go wrong with fresh ginger, can you?
Or why not add some creamy frosting? An idea could be to make your own mouthwatering frosting from cashews.
You should first soak and drain some cashews and dates, add a little bit of maple syrup and plant-based milk and blend all until creamy.
You should then place it in the fridge for half an hour to make the frosting firmer. When it’s ready, spread it on your vegan Christmas pudding.
For an even nicer presentation, you could add some ground pistachios on top.
These are just some ideas you could use as a starting point to create your own version of the vegan Christmas pudding. We’re sure your family and friends will appreciate your efforts and creativity and will look forward to trying your vegan Christmas pudding.
And who knows, it may be so popular that this could become a new family tradition in the coming years!
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