Christmas pudding tips!
September 15, 2014 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Just received a pudding mold, anything I should keep in mind about using it? I've heard one should make an Xmas pudding months in advance - do I start now? Other questions as well!

I just received this from our wedding registry - - and I am pumped! I have always wanted to try an English pudding, specifically a Christmas pud. I have an idea of what to do with it but I was hoping to receive some tips from the MetaFilter crowd, both generally involving pudding and with regard to some specific questions:

-I've read that the best puddings are aged to some extent, but there doesn't appear to be a consensus on when's best to make them. Some people have said it's best to make them the Sunday after Thanksgiving, others say six months to a year in advance! Obviously I don't have that much longer to get it started if the latter fact is true. How long should I make it for?
-I live in SoCal and it's been above 100 degrees multiple times this week alone. Our apartment doesn't have A/C and I'm worried that it may not reach the cool temperature required for longtime storage for a while yet. Is this important or does it not really matter?
-Is there a consensus "best pudding" recipe? Best cookbook for cooking puddings?
-Suet: how crucial is it to a successful pud?

Definitely interested in these specific issues but any general advice on the subject would be much appreciated as well!
posted by miltthetank to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My (English) Nana made the best Christmas Puddings ever. She died last week. BUT she had already made the Christmas pudd for this Christmas! It will be a bitter sweet meal... no it'll be delicious because she was the Queen of Christmas pudd. But that gives you an idea of how long in advance you want to make them.
posted by jujulalia at 2:19 PM on September 15, 2014

My mother used to make them about 8 weeks out from christmas. Remembering to add a week or 2 to that for the fruit to soak. She used a recipe similar to this one, though with more variety of dried fruits & blanched almonds in and brandy instead of sherry, though sherry sounds like a great idea.

Please use suet if at all possible as it just makes the whole thing much lighter in my opinion. Don't skimp on the fruit soaking times. Also avoid using cheap brandy/sherry as so much of the flavour of the pudding comes from there same goes for the dried fruit, now is not the time for any old thing.

There is also the decisions about toppings to be made. I am in the homemade custard school of thought, but there are good arguments to be made for brandy sauce, brandy butter or just a good old drizzle of really top quality cream.

If you are going to go the whole hog, you might want to look into some of the traditions around the pudding too, with the whole family stirring of the mix and making a wish as well as putting a silver coins/tokens in.
posted by wwax at 3:09 PM on September 15, 2014

My mum makes her christmas puddings at christmas time - meaning a year ahead! But go ahead and make one now, there won't be anything wrong with it. Or you could make two - eat one this christmas and save the other one for next!
posted by Joh at 4:41 PM on September 15, 2014

Stir-up Sunday is one traditional time to start a Christmas pudding.
posted by Jahaza at 6:06 PM on September 15, 2014

Yeah I like what Jahaza says. I've made ye olde pudds from Beeton, etc, and a month will work. I've made it with as short as a week's notice. Think about it--how much marinating can a wad of sugar, wheat, nuts, etc., take?
posted by Lardmitten at 9:55 PM on September 15, 2014

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