When I sat down to write a few ground rules for the Devon A-Z challenge, I decided to try to make sure that my blog posts were timely and seasonal. In the autumn, as the apples were gathered from the trees and the presses began the process of turning fruit into alcohol, I gave you a blog post about cider. In December I gave you a run down of some festive beers.
And in January, here is my post on Christmas puddings.
So not that timely then. In fact, January is possibly the worst possible time to be writing a post about Christmas puddings, a product that surely only features on shopping lists in November or December. But I will plough ahead in the face of widespread indifference from a post-Christmas readership because there are a couple of great Devon producers that I want to tell you about. If anyone is going to make you care about Christmas puddings in January, then it should be these two.
The multi-award winning Figgy’s Puddings make their Christmas puddings by hand and package them in individual ceramic bowls. This presentation gives them an immediate presence on shop shelves and a great looking product.
We were under strict instructions to steam the pudding, although with the Running Buffet kitchen not featuring a microwave there was no risk of it ending up spinning wildly beneath rays of unnatural heat. The steaming gave us a moist and fruity pudding with a great Christmas pudding shape. One of my pet hates with Christmas puddings is the cloying, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth feeling you sometimes get. Happily, this is not the case with the Figgy’s pudding, which has a great texture: solid enough to hold its shape, but not unpleasantly hard.
The pudding is made with Port Stout from O’Hanlon’s brewery, another Devon-based company, as well as Somerset Cider Brandy. Whilst these give the pudding an added depth, they don’t overpower the pudding with alcohol. All round (pun very much intended) this was a very nice Christmas pudding.
But Mrs Running Buffet and I are nothing if not thorough and we couldn’t possibly just stop at one pudding. We then turned our spoons towards Georgie Porgie’s orange and Cointreau pudding, which I had picked up at the Dartmouth food festival in October. Again, they manage to avoid that cloying texture and instead serve up a thick, fruity, chewy and utterly delicious pudding.
The orange flavour comes through very nicely and adds a moistness to the pudding that was very welcome. The puddings are wrapped in muslin and can be steamed in their cloths. It held together very well during the steaming and had just the right, round, pudding shape to it. Mrs RB and I made very short work of the pudding and I was soon regretting the decision to only buy the 454g pudding and not the 907g one. Although I’m not sure that eating almost a kilo of pudding between two people is advisable.
As well as the orange pudding, they also do a cider and apple pudding and a lemon and Pimm’s pudding. And, of course, the traditional Christmas pudding.
We are pretty confident that they will suit any long, cold winter’s evening, even a January one, so why wait until next Christmas? If a spot of after-dinner luxury is called for then why not try a steamed pudding? Both companies offer an online ordering service so a pudding could soon be dropping through your letter box and brightening up your winter.
It might just be polite to warn your postman if you’re going to order too many of the kilo-sized puddings.