Christmas Pud (Without the Pudding) served with Marsala Syllabub

I have come to the conclusion that those who think they don't like Christmas pudding deserve to have something similar that encapsulates all those wonderful, spicy fragrances and flavours of Christmas, but is lighter, cooler and slips down more easily after the excesses of the main course. What I've done is to take all the essential ingredients – the fruit, nuts, spices and so on – and make them into a very slowly cooked compote in Marsala wine, so that all the wonderful flavours can develop and mingle together. The result is quite sublime, and although I won't be serving it on Christmas Day itself, it is so good that I will be serving it on lots of other occasions during the party season.

Serves 8

This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine and is also taken from Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Christmas Pud (Without the Pudding) served with Marsala Syllabub
 6 oz (175 g) dried apricots, quartered
 6 oz (175 g) dried figs, chopped the same size as the apricots
 6 oz (175 g) dried Agen prunes, pitted and chopped the same size as the apricots
 6 oz (175 g) large raisins
 1 oz (25 g) whole candied peel, finely chopped
 ¼ level teaspoon mixed spice
 few good gratings nutmeg
 1 small Cox's apple, chopped (peel left on)
 grated zest and juice ½ orange
 grated zest and juice ½ lemon
 1 pint (570 ml) Marsala
 1 oz (25 g) whole blanched almonds
For the Marsala Syllabub:
 3 fl oz (75 ml) Marsala
 1 level dessertspoon molasses sugar
 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
 whole nutmeg
You will also need a flameproof casserole with a capacity of about 2.25 litres (4 pints).


All you do to start off with is place all the Christmas pudding ingredients (except the almonds) in a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to gas mark ½, 250°F (120°C), and pour everything from the bowl into the casserole.

Place it over direct heat and bring it up to a gentle simmer. After that, cover with a lid and place the casserole in the oven to cook very slowly for 3 hours (be careful you don't overcook it).

Leave the compote to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge until needed. (This will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.)

Meanwhile toast the almonds: to do this, cut them finely into thin slivers and place them on a piece of foil, then pop them under a hot grill. Don't leave them, but watch them like a hawk until they're nice and golden brown.

Then cool and wrap them in foil until needed.

To make the syllabub, pour the Marsala into a bowl, add the sugar and leave aside for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. Then pour in the cream and whisk with an electric hand whisk until it stands in soft peaks.

Cover and chill until needed.

To serve, stir the nuts into the fruit, then spoon the compote into stemmed glasses.

After that, re-whisk the syllabub and spoon it on top of the fruits and lastly grate a little nutmeg over the top.

Print Page