Take home Heston

Off the shelf ... Heston Blumenthal's pudding is now available in Australia.
Off the shelf ... Heston Blumenthal's pudding is now available in Australia. 

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’.”

Chef Heston Blumenthal.
Chef Heston Blumenthal. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Available at Coles supermarkets, 227 grams, $7; 1.2 kilograms, $18.

Janne Apelgren