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Dessert alternatives to Christmas pudding

by Elizabeth Young

published on 7 December 2015

Traditional as it may be, Christmas pudding is not for everyone. If you’re looking to switch things up this year, why not try an equally festive, but more crowd-pleasing dessert? Get inspired by our selection of Christmas pudding alternatives, including indulgent chocolate puddings, lighter-than-air roulades, and some truly show-stopping pavlovas. 

Jane’s Patisserie’s No-Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake

by Jane Dunn

Creamy, indulgent, and infused with festive spice, this recipe is perfect for cheesecake (and ginger) lovers.

Cheat’s Christmas Apricot Trifle

Cheat’s Christmas Apricot Trifle

This Mary Berry recipe, which uses shop-bought ingredients, is perfect for whipping up when you need to impress guests in a pinch.

Mob’s Tangerine Tiramisu

by Mob
from Mob 6

Made with just six ingredients, this classic dessert with a festive twist is a surefire crowd-pleaser.

Miso caramel ice cream bomba

Miso Caramel Ice Cream Bomba

by Ixta Belfrage
from Mezcla

Ixta’s striking take on the Italian classic bomba di gelato features three elements, a white miso and caramel ice cream, a miso caramel brittle and a crisp chocolate shell. It’s a brilliant choice for taking the pressure off the big day as you’ll need to make it in advance, so that’s one less job to tackle on the 25th.

chocolate orange trifle

Jane’s Patisserie’s Chocolate Orange Trifle

by Jane Dunn

This dessert showcases a classic flavour combination and makes for a great, show-stopping centrepiece at the Christmas dinner table.

Meringues for Queen Sophia

Meringues for Queen Sophia

by Debora Robertson

Another brilliant make-ahead dessert, this regal recipe features coffee-spiked meringues layered with whipped cream, raisins steeped in sherry, caramel and walnuts.

Jane’s Patisserie’s Mince Pie Brownies

by Jane Dunn

These gooey, festive treats combine the best bits of two classic bakes: brownies, mincemeat, and pastry.


Mary Berry’s Tiramisu Red Fruit Trifle

Here Mary brings together two classic desserts with a tiramisu-flavoured trifle. The addition of wintry red berries adds a festive touch.

Choco Mint Roll

Nadiya Hussain’s Choco-Mint Roll

This no-bake chocolate and mint roll is a breeze to throw together, leaving you with plenty of time to decorate the finished product; Nadiya tops hers with chocolate coated mint leaves and a smooth ganache.

Stem Ginger Puddings

Chocolate, Clementine and Stem Ginger Puddings

For the dried fruit-averse, Rukmini Iyer’s chocolate, clementine and stem ginger puddings make excellent substitutes for the traditional Christmas pud.

Millionaire's trifle

Millionaire’s Trifle

by Jane Dunn

If you’re looking for something truly show-stopping and unashamedly over the top, Jane Dunn’s millionaire’s trifle won’t let you down.

Nadiya Hussain’s Tutti Frutti Pavlova

Nadiya Hussain’s Tutti Frutti Pavlova

Nadiya nostalgic tutti frutti pavlova combines glacé cherries, mixed peel, pistachios and shavings of chocolate. Layered on a chewy meringue nest with whipped cream in the middle, this is a playful twist on traditional pavlova.

Frozen Espresso Parfait for a Crowd

Frozen Espresso Parfait for a Crowd

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Goh
from Sweet

With creamy coffee parfait set between layers of chocolate meringue and topped with crunchy praline and a caramel whisky sauce, this parfait from SWEET makes for a stylish festive dessert.

Nadiya Hussain’s Éclair Roll

Nadiya Hussain’s Éclair Roll

Let the good times roll this Christmas with this easy recipe from Nadiya’s Family Favourites. A cross between an éclair and a Swiss roll, it’ll be top of any chocoholic’s wish list this Christmas.

chocolate espresso cheesecake

Ainsley Harriott’s Rich Chocolate and Espresso Cheesecake

A subtle hint of espresso enhances this deeply chocolatey flavour of this cheesecake from Ainsley Harriott.

chocolate orange bread and butter pudding

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread and Butter Pudding

Studded with chocolate chips and infused with orange, Rukmini Iyer’s bread and butter pudding is a festive twist on the classic.

Mary Berry’s Chocolate Steamed Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

Mary Berry’s Chocolate Steamed Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

If you’re looking for a classic crowd-pleaser, this fluffy chocolate sponge is just the ticket. It’s served with a rich pouring sauce for added chocolatey flavour.

Quince, Brandy and Walnut Trifle: A Twist on a Charlotta

Quince, Brandy and Walnut Trifle: A Twist on a Charlotta

by Georgina Hayden
from Taverna

This Cypriot-inspired trifle is layered with sponge, poached fruit in jelly, chopped spoon sweets, custard, and topped off with whipped cream. Georgina recommends replacing the quince with pears or apples if you can’t get hold of them and to decorate it “as extravagantly as you wish”.

Chestnut Torta

Nadiya Hussain’s Chestnut Torta

This dense, nutty torta, packed with toasted nuts and rich, dark chocolate, is best served with lashings of cream.

Winter Bombe: Chocolate, Cherries, Vin Santo, Panettone and Pistachios

Winter Bombe: Chocolate, Cherries, Vin Santo, Panettone and Pistachios

With festive flavours of panettone and Vin Santo, this bombe is also a great make-ahead option, with only 20 minutes of preparation time involved. Simply assemble the ingredients, freeze and then pour hot chocolate sauce over the top when you’re ready to serve.

Ainsley Harriott’s Caramel Plum Sundae with Pink Peppercorn Nut Brittle

Ainsley Harriott’s Caramel Plum Sundae with Pink Peppercorn Nut Brittle

With soft, sweet plums, dulce de leche, and peppery brittle for a crunchy texture, this sundae is something special. Serve it up in little glasses for an elegant dessert.

Cinnamon Pavlova, Praline Cream and Fresh Figs

Ottolenghi’s Cinnamon Pavlova, Praline Cream and Fresh Figs

by Helen Goh, Yotam Ottolenghi
from Sweet

With a suitably festive cinnamon-flavoured meringue topped with fresh figs and a praline cream, this pavlova from SWEET will not fail to impress your Christmas Day guests.

Chocolate and Salted Dulce de Leche Tart

Chocolate and Salted Dulce de Leche Tart

by Lucy Carr-Ellison, Jemima Jones

If you’re planning on making this chocolate and dulce de leche tart, be sure to leave extra room because it is impossible to not want a second slice. If Christmas is all about indulging, then this dessert ticks all the boxes.

Giant Macaron Cake

Giant Macaron Cake

by Nadine Levy-Redzepi

From Nadine Levy Redzepi’s debut cookbook, Downtime, comes this eye-popping macaron cake. Far from the earthy tones of a Christmas pud, this fuchsia extravaganza is a striking departure from tradition.

Chocolate and Irish Cream Roulade

Mary Berry’s Chocolate and Irish Cream Roulade

It wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate, and this dessert not only features a rich dark chocolate sponge but is finished with a decorative drizzle of white chocolate too. It’s another make-ahead option that you can pop in the freezer and defrost before the big day.

Banoffee Alaska Almond Pastry, Caramel, Bananas & Vanilla Ice Cream

Banoffee Alaska Almond Pastry, Caramel, Bananas and Vanilla Ice Cream

This recipe from Jamie Oliver is a show-stopping way to round-off your Christmas feast. It’s a medley of flavours and textures, from rich caramel to lime-spiked bananas and a crunchy crown of meringue. Much of the preparation can be done in advance, giving you more time to relax and enjoy yourself on Christmas afternoon.

Meringue Roulade with Rose Petals and Fresh Raspberries

Meringue Roulade with Rose Petals and Fresh Raspberries

Ottolenghi’s meringue roulade is a refreshing twist on the more traditional chocolate yule log. With an irresistible layer of mascarpone cream wrapped in soft meringue and topped with raspberries, pistachios and rose petals, it makes for an elegant centrepiece.


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