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There are not actually that many specifically Christmassy desserts, are there? I mean, OK - mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, maybe Yule log. I can't think of any more beyond those, though.

Still, luckily for me I genuinely love Christmas pudding (and sprouts, and parsnips, and roast turkey - which makes Christmas a very good time for me all round, really). I'll admit that it sometimes seems a bit daunting after what's already been a huge Christmas meal - but that's kind of the point at Christmas, isn't it? I probably wouldn't want to eat it more than a few times a year, either. But those few times I do genuinely look forward to.

My perfect Christmas pudding is moist, rich, aromatic, fruity, and smothered in brandy butter, thick brandy cream and hot brandy sauce. If I can only have one of those, it's the brandy cream which is most important, as it is light and cool and helps to counteract the stodgy rich hot pudding.

I actually made a Christmas pudding three years ago, which I'm happy to report came out very well - genuinely one of the nicest I have ever eaten, in fact. I enjoyed doing it, and I'd love to live the kind of lifestyle where I had the time to do that every year. But it does take a lot of time and effort, and realistically a good-quality pudding from the supermarket is much better value for time, and cheaper to boot.

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
It has long been a great problem in my family that neither my sister nor myself like Christmas pudding. I have gradually become reconciled to mince pies, however.
Dec. 8th, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my sister doesn't like it either. We normally get her a chocolatey dessert instead - and secretly cheer that it means more pudding for the rest of us! :-)
Dec. 8th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
I am all for chocolate desserts as substitutes.
Dec. 8th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
Christmas pudding can be quite a hit-or-miss affair. I've had a few that were rather dry, which doesn't work well at all. I do remember a particularly good one a few years back we had which was from M&S and had just the right blend of spice.
Dec. 8th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, bad Christmas pudding can be pretty bad. One of the best bought ones I've had was from the Italian food / deli type shop in Oxford covered market, and indeed when I made my own I used the ingredients list from its packet, as well as Delia Smith's guidance, as my recipe. Basically you can't have too much fruit, booze and spices.
Dec. 9th, 2012 08:22 am (UTC)
For the last few years MLW & I have made our own Christmas Pudding. We usually do it during half-term when my daughter is in Edinburgh. It's proven a good way to involve her in the on-going preparations for Christmas.

We haven't done it this year. For various reasons, mainly work in the age of austerity. </p>

I use a syringe to inject alcohol into the heart of the pudding.

It's taken us years to work out the best way to cook the pudding.

Dec. 9th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
Aw, that sounds nice about involving your daughter in the process. I'm sorry you weren't able to do it this year. The syringe trick sounds good, too - I bet your puddings are very moist and seriously boozy after that!
Dec. 10th, 2012 09:45 am (UTC)
The syringe trick does make for a moist and very boozy pudding. Which in turn makes for a pudding that responds well to being set on fire. It is the way forward.

It is a nice way to involve her. It works better than the other way of involving her which is to try and fail to find any fish related food product that she will eat at Lithmas.

The pudding will rise again next year.
Dec. 9th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
One of the joys of January used to be half-price Christmas pudding.

Though I think the supermarkets are better at stock control as I've not seen it in recent years
Dec. 9th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed! But you're right - you have to be pretty nippy now to catch it before it's gone. And it's no good getting it without sufficient supplies of brandy cream, butter and sauce to go with it, either.
Dec. 10th, 2012 10:26 am (UTC)
My grandma always made the Christmas puddings for our family, my uncle's family and then a small extra one which Dad would have on his birthday on 6 January. I took it over four years ago, and asked Grandma for her recipe. I was expecting something on a flimsy bit of antique paper that Mrs So-and-So had vouchsafed to her in 1950-something or even 1930-something, but it turned out she just used the one on the Atora Suet packet. Pah! I made that the first year, but then switched to Delia's. I don't bother with sixpences and we have a pressure cooker, so once it's basically just mixing and then hour and a half's steaming per pudding.

I also had a conversation with my dad that went:

"I need to take all the pudding basins back up to Manchester for the Christmas puddings."
"What, even that little one? I used that to beat my scrambled eggs in?"
"Do you WANT a mini-pudding for your birthday or- "
"Oh, take it, take it!"
Dec. 10th, 2012 10:28 am (UTC)
Oh, and last year I used spare pudding to make Christmas pudding ice-cream - a proper egg-custard, cooled, and then a Christmas pudding mashed and stirred into it and fully frozen. It was AMAZING! Thinking of getting a couple of shop-bought puddings and doing that again.
Dec. 10th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, inbetween_girl's answer to this question also spoke highly of things like Christmas pudding ice-cream and cheesecake - basically lighter, creamier derivatives which keep the fruity, spicy taste of the pudding, but in a less stodgy medium. That's effectively what I'm making in my own bowl, too, when I ladle copious quantities of brandy cream all over my pudding.

Using a pressure cooker sounds incredibly sensible. When I made mine, I just steamed them in pans, and I seem to remember it taking about 8 hours!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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