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21 Dec 2019

Seven ways to make your Christmas pudding the star of Christmas dinner

Tips for tasty toppings, sides and sweet treats to sip with it

Our experts tasted more than eight kilos of Christmas pudding this year in order to find the best Christmas pudding.

In just a few days you'll be getting ready to serve yours. Here's how to turn it from a plain old pudding into a Christmas star:

1. Steam rather than microwave

Yes microwaving is much quicker, but our Christmas pudding experts assured us that you'll get a much better taste from steaming, as microwaving can make a pudding tough and sticky. You'll find instructions on the back of the packet.

Just make sure you keep an eye on the water level to prevent it from drying up.

2. Top with Drambuie cream

Move over brandy butter. This year it's all about Drambuie cream to drizzle on your pud.

To make this whiskey-spiced side, add one or two dessert spoons of Drambuie per 100ml of double cream.

Or for a non-alcoholic topping, try adding some orange or vanilla extract to your cream instead.

3. Pretty up your pud

Flaming Christmas pudding might add that 'grand finale' moment to the end of your Christmas dinner, but there are plenty of other ways to present your pud in style.

A dusting of icing sugar mixed with spices, such as nutmeg or cinnamon, adds extra festive punch as well as looking dainty.

Or go to town with sprinkles from the supermarket baking aisle. You could try snowflakes or glamorous gold sugar-pearl sprinkles.

Alternatively, Christmas-shaped cookies poked in the top of your pudding will give it a kitsch look kids will love.

4. Slurp something special with it

Ginger is a festive spice that pairs really well with Christmas pudding, so why not try drinking a glass of ginger beer or ginger wine alongside it?

If ginger's not your thing, a sweet fizz, such as Asti Spumante, is a perfect pudding partner.

Coffee also works well. If you like it boozy, add whisky and cream to make an Irish coffee, or vodka and coffee liqueur for an espresso martini.

These three cocktails offer something different to sip alongside your pudding:

  1. Brandy Alexander Mix one part fresh cream, one part brandy and one part creme de cacao. Don't forget freshly ground nutmeg on top - it really makes it.
  2. NegroniNot just for summer, the orangey tang of a Negroni is great alongside the spices in your Christmas pud. Simply stir together one part gin, one part vermouth rosso and one part Campari, over ice. Pop in some orange peel for decoration.
  3. Mulled cider Choose this over mulled wine to drink with your pudding, as it pairs better. Heat up cider (or apple juice, if you'd prefer non-alcoholic), alongside spices and butter, which gives the drink more depth. You can also add brandy for an extra kick.

5. Turn leftovers into liqueur

Don't waste a crumb of your Christmas pudding. If you have leftovers, you can turn them into a lovely liqueur.

The chefs at Orwells Restaurant in Henley-On-Thames, who are on our panel of pudding experts, make a delicious Christmas pudding vodka liqueur by combining one third of a bottle of pudding crumbs with two thirds vodka.

You could try using Southern Comfort instead of vodka.

After it's been in storage for a couple of months, strain it through a muslin cloth and it's ready to drink. Add it to cocktail recipes or drink over ice - both are delicious.

6. Turn it gold: watch our video to see how

It's really easy turn a basic Christmas pudding into something super-special. Just add one can of gold spray.

7. Try a side of (unusual) ice cream

Although traditional vanilla ice cream is a delicious alternative to having brandy butter or cream with your Christmas pudding, why not try something different this year?

Rum and raisin or honey ice cream were recommended by our Christmas pudding experts.

Or if you fancy something completely different, olive oil ice cream is a more quirky, but tasty, choice.