December 5, 2018

Jamaican Christmas Pudding

Recipe: Tita Brown

This recipe requires advanced planning for a few steps and stages but the result is a rich, boozy dessert that is the perfect finish to a holiday meal.


Stewed Fruit

  • 4 cups raisins
  • 5 cups pitted prunes
  • 1⁄3 cup crystallized mixed fruit peel
  • 1⁄3 cup dates
  • 1⁄3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 750-mL bottle port wine, plus more if necessary
  • 1⁄3 cup dark rum, plus more if necessary
  • 1⁄3 cup maraschino cherries, drained, reserving 2 tbsp juice
  • 1⁄3 cup cherry brandy, plus more if necessary


  • 1⁄2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp allspice
  • 1⁄8 tsp orange spice (available at specialty food stores) or 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 lb. butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 bottles stewed fruit (recipe above)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

Liquor Mixture

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 1/3 cup cherry brandy

Rum Sauce

  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark rum


Yield: Serves 12 or more

1. To make stewed fruit, place raisins, prunes, fruit peel, dates and brown sugar in a large, heavy stainless-steel saucepan. Cover with port wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until the fruit is very tender, at least 30 minutes. Remove from heat; add the rum. Let cool. Add cherries.

2. Put fruit in food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the reserved cherry juice and cherry brandy. Place chopped fruit mixture in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (or a large bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap). Store in a cool, dark cupboard until required. This can be done six months or more in advance. The longer the stewed fruit stands, the better cured the fruit will be. Check from time to time that the liquid has not dried out. Add more rum or port wine as necessary. Once you’re ready to use, drain the mixture in a cheesecloth-lined colander for one hour.

3. To make cake, preheat oven to 400°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, allspice, orange spice or zest and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

4. In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until combined.

5. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Mix 1/3 of the whites into the butter mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. With a wooden spoon, mix the drained stewed fruit into the egg/butter mixture. Add vanilla and breadcrumbs. Slowly stir in flour mixture until well combined.

6. Place in foil-lined, greased 1-inch x 8-inch springform cake pan. Make sure entire pan is lined in foil so it is water-tight. Place cake pan in a roasting pan, and create a hot water bath by pouring in enough boiling water to reach about an inch up the sides of the cake pan.

7. Bake for 1 hour. Lower temperature to 375°F and continue baking for 3 hours, or until cake is baked. Check doneness with a skewer after 2 1⁄2 hours — skewer should come out clean when done. Allow cake to cool in the pan.

8. To make liquor mixture, combine honey, rum and brandy in a small bowl. While cake is still warm, spoon on a small amount of the liquor mixture.

9. Remove cake from tin when completely cooled. Brush again with liquor mixture over top and sides of the cake. Continue doing this once a day over the next week, allowing the cake to absorb the liquor. Cake can be wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap, then tinfoil, and stored in refrigerator or freezer for up to three months. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature.

10. To make the rum sauce, cream together butter and icing sugar, then add rum and blend until smooth. Adjust amount of rum to suit your tastes. Store in a container in the refrigerator. Spoon over cake to serve. May be served warm or cold.


John Cullen


House & Home November 2010