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Best Christmas pudding 2018

By Martin Pratt

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We tasted premium Christmas puddings from leading supermarkets so you can find the tastiest dessert for your Christmas dinner

We’ve tasted 12 premium puddings for the December 2018 edition of Which? magazine. 

Christmas puddings on test came from leading supermarkets, including Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and more, along with puds from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, so you can be sure of the tastiest pudding for your Christmas Dinner.

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Best Christmas puddings 

Our experts, who between them have decades of experience in baking, food-writing, patisserie and production, liked the appearance, aroma and taste of three puddings enough to make them Best Buys. 

The table below has the scores and prices for all the puddings we tested, so you can the pudding from your local store fared.

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the best Christmas puddings on test. To get instant access join Which?.

Christmas puddings
Name Price and pack size Price per 100g Tasting notes Score
Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Handcrafted Vintage Pudding £9.99, 907g £1.10 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Asda Extra Special Christmas pudding £4, 454g £0.88 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Co-op Irresistible Christmas Pudding £3, 400g £0.75 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
F&M St James Christmas Pudding £10.95, 454g £2.41 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Harrods, Harrods Classic Christmas Pudding £13, 454g £2.86 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Iceland Luxury 12 month mature Christmas Pudding £6, 750g £0.80 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Lidl's Deluxe 24 month matured Christmas pudding £12, 907g £1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
M&S The Collection 12 Intensly Fruited  Christmas Pudding £12, 907g £1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Morrisons The Best Christmas Pudding £5, 454g £0.80 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 18 Month Matured Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding £6, 454g £1.32 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Tesco Finest 12 month Mature Christmas Pudding £8, 907g £0.88 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Waitrose 1 12 month matured Christmas pudding £8, 454g £1.76 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Table notes: Prices are correct as of November 2018. All puddings are suitable for vegetarians and contain alcohol

How to get a perfect dome 

Christmas puddings always look delectable on the packaging, but getting a neat dome of cake from the plastic tub onto your plate isn't always an easy exercise. If you've ever been left scraping half your pudding from the side of the tub then follow these easy steps to serve.

  1. Almost all of the cooking instructions recommend leaving the pudding to stand for one or more minutes before serving. It's tempting to start serving as soon as possible, particularly when you catch a whiff of the lovely, fruity aroma, but waiting gives the dessert a chance to settle and keep its shape better.
  2. Use a knife to cut around the top of the cake, so  it separates from the plastic tub.
  3. Turn the tub upside down onto a plate and wait a minute or so, or until you feel the pudding come free.
  4. If the pudding shows no sign of shifting, take a corkscrew and make a hole in the base of the tub. This will allow some of the pressure to escape and you should feel the pudding drop onto the plate in no time.

Best wine pairing for pudding 

What you have to drink with your pudding is almost as important as the pudding itself. Pairing it with the right wine or spirit will heighten the flavours in the pudding making it as tasty as possible and an excellent end to your meal.

We asked wine expert Charles Metcalfe what drink was best to serve with a Christmas pudding and  you can log in to see what he recommends.

How to bling up your pudding 

If you fancy adding a bit of sparkle to your Christmas pudding this year, watch our video below to see how easy it is to add that touch of Christmas bling.

Christmas pudding serving suggestions 

Brandy butter or rum sauce? Custard or cream? What do you like to eat with your Christmas pudding?

Your favourites are the simplest – cream or custard – according to our survey of 723 Which? members who like Christmas pudding.

But if you want to wow your guests this Christmas, why not try our experts’ different take on these traditional serving suggestions? Brandy stirred into whipped cream runs elegantly down the pudding. Or contrast hot and cold by serving steaming hot pudding with cold custard or ice cream.

In 2017, we asked whether you set light to your Christmas pudding before serving it and, according to our survey, 39% of you do but 45% don't. 

Alternatives to Christmas pudding 

Christmas puddings aren't for everyone, which is why we asked our experts what they'd offer for anyone who isn't a fan.

Black Forest gateau – 70s food is making a comeback and while we don't recommend a prawn cocktail before your turkey, ending with a Black Forest gateau isn't such a bad idea. The dark fruit is reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, but the sweet cream and chocolate sponge give it a crowd-pleasing flavour.

Sticky toffee pudding – this year-round favourite is perfect for Christmas. It's a proper hot pudding that's popular for a reason. The rich toffee flavour goes well with custard and be sure to pop it under the grill before serving to get a scrumptious caramelised glaze.

Mincemeat cheesecake – you might struggle to find this in shops, but if you don't mind donning an apron and channeling the Great British Bake Off,  you could try your hand at making your own. 

Log in to see the recipe from acclaimed baker and one of our expert tasters, Dan Lepard.

How we tested 

Our four experts rated the 12 Christmas puddings for taste, texture, aroma and appearance. We heated each pudding in the microwave as per the instructions on the packet (because 64% of you who heat your Christmas pudding prefer to microwave it) before our panel blind-tasted them. Taste is key, which is why it makes up half the overall test score.

  • 50% taste
  • 20% aroma
  • 20% texture
  • 10% appearance

Our experts:

Dan Lepard award-winning baker, and food writer for The Guardian, BBC Good Food and Australian titles. He was also a judge on the Great Australian Bake-Off.

Patrick Moore award-winning artisan bread maker and founder of More? artisan bakery and cafe in Cumbria.

Suzy Pelta bakery author and broadcaster, and ITV1’s Lorraine Cake Club Winner

Ryan Simpson chef proprietor of acclaimed restaurant Orwells in Henley-on-Thames and Great British Menu regional finalist.

 
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