Holiday Pudding with Frozen Hard Sauce


A la Mode

Published by St. Martin's Griffin

We end with the end of the year: our version of a winter classic, served with a frozen version of its traditional boozy, buttery sauce. The resulting heavily spiced pudding (or cake, as it might be called on this side of the Atlantic pond) is quite crumbly: it won’t cut into clean wedges and will in fact barely hold its shape on the plate with all that dried fruit in tow.

Hard sauce combines butter and a distilled spirit, often brandy. It’s also often made with confectioners’ sugar—and we kept that in the mix here to give the frozen confection a slightly grainy texture, to pull it away from the velvety feel of ice cream and gelato. We felt this texture was more in keeping with all the small crumbles in the steamed pudding.

Recipe CourseDessert



  • For the Pudding:
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup chopped, stemmed dried figs
  • 1 cup chopped, pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 medium oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten in a small bowl
  • 1 cup plus
  • 2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) brandy


To Make the Pudding

  1. Butter the inside of a 1 1/2-quart round, high-sided soufflé or baking dish.

  2. Mix the brandy, figs, dates, cherries, orange juice, and zest in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 7 minutes. Set aside, uncovered, to cool to room temperature, for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.