Christmas Desserts

Plum Pudding
Melissa Sobey

A warm plum pudding is my traditional Christmas dessert of choice. It nostalgically feeds my sweet tooth, as it does with many Islanders of British or Irish heritage. Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be complete without a rich pudding and a dreamy self-induced food coma on the couch. If you have never had plum pudding before, you may be surprised to find out that it doesn’t contain a single plum; it’s packed with plump, sticky raisins. This pudding, altered very slightly, is a Sobey family recipe. The sauce is similar to one that my mother prepared each Christmas. In my opinion, the more sauce, the better, so don’t be Scrooge about it!

Cherished family recipes vary greatly. Some puddings are soaked with alcohol, smothered in hard sauce, or filled with a variety of dried fruit. This is similar to the simple, alcohol-free plum puddings of my childhood, so it’s my favourite. It freezes well and I like to make it weeks before Christmas to save some of my sanity. It can be reheated by steaming in the oven for about an hour. More easily, it can be reheated in the microwave.

Pudding Ingredients

3/4 cup of butter
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour milk
1 lb lexia raisins or another type of sticky raisin
1/2 Tbsp of lemon rind

Sauce Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups hot water
Splash of vanilla


To make the pudding: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a pudding mold (or a metal bowl or even clean metal cans). Mix flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and molasses well. Add dry ingredients and sour milk alternately to creamed butter mixture and stir until just incorporated, adding the raisins and lemon rind near the end. Spoon into prepared pudding mold and cover securely with the lid. Place the mold on a rack in a larger pot or roaster, fill 2-3 inches up the sides of the pudding mold with hot water. Cover the pot or roaster with a lid and steam the pudding for approximately 3 ½ hours, or until a cake tester inserted close to the center comes out clean. While the pudding steams, check on the water level and add more hot water if needed. Cool the pudding completely before sliding it out of the mold.

To make the sauce: In a pot, mix the sugar and starch, adding hot water slowly, as well as the butter and salt. Boil gently while stirring until slightly thickened. Add a splash of vanilla and remove from the heat. Serve warm.

Christmas Candy
Molly Pendergast

This is my grandmother’s simple, but excellent, chocolate toffee bark. We eat way too much of it every year.
Funnily enough, this was also Cheryl’s choice for a Christmas recipe, though in her house it’s called Christmas Crack. It got that name from a friend who remarked one holiday, “it’s like crack, you get addicted!” Note that the cooking times are important, make sure to use a timer.


1 box of saltines (plain or salted crackers)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 (300g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Toppings like chopped or ground almonds, coarse sea salt, etc.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.
Place saltines on tinfoil until sheet is covered with crackers.
Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a boil, stirring well. Let boil for three minutes.
Pour mixture over saltines. Place sheet in oven and cook for seven minutes.
Remove from oven, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit for a minute or so, then spread until the chocolate has evenly coated the sheet. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and any other desired topping. Put the pan in the freezer until it becomes hard (at least one hour.) Break sheet of candy into rough pieces with hands. Store in refrigerator.

Note: This makes a great gift—pop into a festive tin, include the recipe, and you’ve passed on a delicious tradition.

Cranberry Lemon Loaf
Chanelle Doucette

A quick and easy loaf that is as decadent as a cake and tastes like sunshine on a grey day. It freezes beautifully and stays moist thanks to sour cream and olive oil in the batter and lemon syrup that is poured into the cake once it’s out of the oven.


1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp lemon zest (from two lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
Lemon syrup ingredients
1/3 cup lemon juice (approx. amount of juice from the two zested lemons)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Glaze ingredients
1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp water or milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
In one bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and ginger.
In a second bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and olive oil.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together using a whisk until just combined. Add the cranberries to the batter and swirl them through.
Divide the batter between the two greased loaf pans. Bake approximately 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Meanwhile, heat the lemon juice and sugar together in a small pot until the sugar has dissolved into the juice.
When loaves are cooked through, remove from oven. Let cool in pan five minutes, then poke all over with a paring knife. Pour the lemon syrup over both loaves. Allow to soak in another ten minutes.
Remove loaves from pans and place on a cooling rack. Mix the icing sugar with milk or water to make the glaze and drizzle over top with abandon.

Apple Crisp Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce
Christopher Dunbar

Cheesecake Ingredients

2 cups flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 x 8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5-6 medium sized apples, peeled and cut
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup quick oats
½ cup butter


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter and press into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Blend well. When crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and pour filling into crust.
Mix apples, nutmeg and cinnamon together until evenly coated. Spread apples over the filling.
Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and butter together and spread over the apples. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool and then refrigerate for 4-5 hours before serving. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce just before serving.

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup 18% M.F. cream
1 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp vanilla


Mix ingredients together and bring to boil over low heat. Stir regularly. Boil 9-10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Cool. You can also add ½ tsp of rum favoring if desired.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Cheryl Young

A melt-in-your-mouth shortbread is a true sign of the holidays. I am not great at rolled cookies, so this is a simple way to create scrumptious shortbread cookies, without much hassle.


1 cup butter
½ cup icing sugar
1½ cups flour


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whip all ingredients together with a beater for 10 minutes or so. The batter should look like fluffy icing.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. If you want to dress them up a little, you can add cut cherries (red and green) to the tops. Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.

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A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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