WRITER and former Londoner Terry Durack recalls that when British chef Heston Blumenthal created a Christmas pudding for England’s Waitrose supermarket chain, things went a little crazy. “When the pudding was first released in the UK, it sold out in a single weekend,” Durack recalls.
Now the puddings, which contain a hidden orange or mandarin, are available at Coles along with fruit mince pies, so we asked Durack, and our columnist Jill Dupleix, to give them a try.
Dupleix found the pud “very dark, very sweet, and VERY moist, with a lovely Christmassy spicing throughout. The ‘hidden orange’ is fiendishly clever, as its juices just keep juicing up the pudding from the inside. I wondered if it would be hard to carve so that everyone got some orange as well, but it was simple. It would make a great gift for someone who wasn’t up to making their own plum pud”. Dupleix found the top seal peeled back as soon as she started steaming the pudding, and re-sealed it with plastic wrap.
For Durack, “the best part of the pudding was how the candied orange released its juices and created a kind of instant sauce”. For a man brought up on fairly solid and dry-ish grandmother’s and aunt’s home-made puds, this was very lush, moist and spice-laden, although it didn’t taste very boozy which people, other than myself, would probably find a good thing. Personally I’d much rather find a shiny coin than an orange in my pudding, but it’s a great talking point.”
Durack remembers the UK pudding frenzy ending with them “being sold on eBay for up to 250 quid a pop. Is it worth 250 quid...erm, no.
“I found the pudding excessively dense and rich, which is not a problem if you show a little restraint with serving portions. Would I buy one for the family? Yes probably, if only so I can say: ‘Here’s one Heston made earlier’.”
When the pudding was first released in the UK, it sold out in a single weekend.
Available at Coles supermarkets, 227 grams, $7; 1.2 kilograms, $18.