Make a crowd-pleasing frozen Christmas pudding this year using bought ice cream.
Make a crowd-pleasing frozen Christmas pudding this year using bought ice cream. Maggie Cooper

RECIPE: An ice cream Christmas pudding

HOW about something a little different for Christmas dessert this year? The process of making ice cream frightens some people off. I bought a churn back in the early '80s; I had to pack salt and ice around a central barrel that contained a mixer paddle.

Things have improved now but no matter what churn you use, the ice cream will be the consistency of soft serve when it's finished; ripen the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours. If you have an ice cream maker and a favourite chocolate ice cream recipe, by all means make it. Or you can cheat by buying good quality ice cream and softening it enough to make it easy to mix - but not soft enough to allow the air to escape.

Using ready-made ice cream is a terrific short cut, and as we are all a bit time-poor at Christmas, short cuts are not to be sneezed at.

A word of warning about the use of alcohol in ice cream. Alcohol acts as an anti-freeze, so there comes a point where adding too much will result in the ice cream taking longer to harden. If you use too much, the ice cream will end up full of ice crystals.

Frozen Christmas pudding

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS: 40g dried apricots, chopped, 40g glace pineapple chopped, 70g sultanas or raisins, 150g multicoloured glace cherries, 4 tbs liqueur, spirits or fruit juice, 1/2 cup thickened cream, 1 Cherry Ripe, chopped, 100g Maltesers, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, 1 litre chocolate ice cream, softened, strawberries, to serve (optional)

METHOD: Line a pudding bowl with foil. Soak the fruit in the liqueur - or fruit juice if serving to children - for at least an hour. Place softened ice cream in a large bowl. NB: ice cream should still be holding its shape. If you allow it to melt, the air will escape and the end result will be flat and hard.

Add fruit, cream and remaining ingredients and mix gently to combine. Place in the pudding basin and freeze until firm (at least two hours). This recipe may be made up to two weeks in advance. Unmould pudding onto a serving plate, slice into wedges and serve with strawberries if desired.

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