I have just found a Christmas pudding tucked away in the back of my cupboard from last year.

For many, a heavy Christmas pudding packed with dried fruit and currents can be a digestive hurdle too far. Instead, why not try this Christmas Crumble which can be prepped days before, is very easy to put together and can be heated in the oven easily without all the boiling and fuss.

And, if you want to pour heated brandy over it and set it alight, I don’t think anyone will object!


For the Christmas fruit:

150g plump raisins or prunes

150ml Marsala, sherry or orange juice

2-3 large baking apples, peeled and cubed

4 ripe plums

150g soft brown sugar

2 persimmons stoned and cubed

Zest of an orange

Stick of cinnamon

Teaspoon ground ginger and mixed spice

2-3 pears cut into quarters

For the crumble:

125g plain flour

125g unsalted butter, chilled

125g muscovado sugar

100g jumbo oats

100g flaked almonds

teaspoon ground ginger

teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch salt


Soak the dried fruit in the alcohol or orange juice overnight.

Add the apples and plums to a saucepan with the sugar and cook over a low heat until the fruit

starts to collapse and soften.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped persimmons, the soaked fruit and their juices, the

orange zest and spices.

Mix everything together and taste, adding more sugar if required.

You can set this aside in the fridge for a few days, or even in the freezer, until ready to use.

The Crumble:

Sift the flour into a bowl

Grate the chilled butter into the flour and use you fingers to rub the butter into the flour.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

To assemble the crumble:

Pre-heat oven Gas 5/ 190C

Butter a baking dish or 20cm flan tin.

Add half the crumble mix and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool.

Spoon over the prepared spiced fruit filling and top with the rest of the crumble mixture.

Arrange the quartered pears on top the crumble topping, pressing them into the dish.

Scatter with some blobs of butter and a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with home- made custard, whipped cream and if you fancy, a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online: www.valvonacrolla.com

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