A head of this weekends Stir Up Sunday, today is the first annual National Pudding Day. I’ve got to celebrate the great day and dessert with Matthew Walker, the Worlds oldest Christmas pudding makers. Established in Derbyshire in 1899 by a farmer’s son, they provide more Christmas puddings for retailers, both brand and own label, than any other Christmas pudding maker in the UK. Including M&S Belgian Chocolate & Orange Star Christmas Pudding, which won Goodhousekeeping Christmas taste test as their best Christmas pudding.
For me puddings are a quintessential part of British culture, I’ve even been known to take one with me for festive celebrations abroad! As well as the traditional Christmas pudding there are now new twists and varieties to suit everyone, including great tasting seasonal sponges and bombes. The wide selection available in the UK has grown tremendously as retailers tap into different food trends and flavours. From Heston’s Middle Eastern Persian inspired pudding, molten hidden centres and mature puds, to edible gold lustres and bejewelled fruit and nut decorations. It would appear bling is in, with a fifth of this years Christmas puddings being gold dusted or glittery. Gone are the days of adorning your pudding with a simple sprig of holly.
I tend to serve my Christmas pudding with a brandy infused custard or cream. But I also like to put Christmas pudding and trifle in the same bowl. The mix of flavours, textures, temperatures and alcohol in both results in a real feeling and taste of Christmas spirit.
Coming from a large family, with large appetites to match it’s actually quite rare we have any Christmas pudding left. But when we do or even better have thought ahead and bought two, the left over pudding options are endless. Combining them with other festive leftovers, even better. From Christmas pudding ice cream-think cookie dough with a festive difference, truffles, tiffin and even my personal favourite Christmas pudding baked alaska, I have included a few ideas below…
Christmas Bread and Brandy Butter Pudding
Sliced up and spread with brandy butter, before being smothered in custard makes this traditional English pudding twice as traditional and twice as tasty. Alternating the slices with left over panettone or stollen is another option and serves up a slightly less rich concoction.
Christmas Pudding Trifle
Christmas pudding, sour morello cherries or oranges, layered up with lashings of custard and cream makes for a full on festive dessert. Especially if topped off and covered with a flurry of flaked toasted almonds or coconut.
Christmas Pudding Snow Scene
Rather than custard or cream, ice-cream especially if scooped into snowball size balls can make for a winter wonderland looking pud. Served hot the Christmas pudding contrasts brilliantly with the cold ice-cream. Whether festive flavoured or not, sprinkling over desiccated coconut, creates another layer of flavoursome snow and adds texture to the scene and spoonful.
Christmas Pudding Sundaes
These make a brilliant dessert, whatever the day of the week. Considering most of us lose track of what day of the week it is over Christmas, Sunday or Sundae both end the week and meal perfectly.
I love to layer up the crumbled up pudding with brandy butter icecream, homemade or shop bought. Adding mini sparklers will also really set your sundaes and leftovers alight!
Christmas Pudding Truffles
As with Christmas cake, leftover Christmas pudding can be crumbled up and rolled up into Christmas truffles. Delicious dusted in cocoa or mixed up with melted chocolate or ganache and tossed in chopped nuts, the only thing you’ll be left over with is an extra chocolate hit and crunch.
Christmas Pudding Tiffin
If you find yourself with a lot of leftover chocolate, nuts and biscuits, turn them and any Christmas pudding pieces into a festive slab of tiffin. No need to add the dried fruit to the mix, as the pud will have it covered, in alcohol no less. Chocolate covered raisins and pud in one festive refrigerator cake.
For all of these ideas and suggestions you need a great base product to begin with. It’s true what they say, the proof really is in the pudding and as Matthew Walker have been making puddings for hundreds of years they truly are the pudding experts.