Added to your cart

  • Free Delivery over £100
  • Sustainably Brewed & Distilled in Southwold
  • Award-winning Beers, Wines & Spirits

Christmas Puddings Stir-Up Sunday

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Christmas Pudding at The Swan HotelThis year's Stir-Up Sunday is 24th November, and is the traditional day when all the family gather to take part in making their puddings for Christmas. Before you launch yourself up to the elbows into a mixing bowl brimming with fruit and flour, take a moment to read Head Chef Rory Whelan's expert tips on how to make the perfect Christmas pudding. When do you start making Christmas puddings for Swan Hotel guests? We started to make our individual puddings in October, which allows at least a full month to mature for ready for the start of December. Rory adds candied orange peelWhat are the secrets of making a really good Christmas pudding? There are various recipes to use, most of the basic ingredients in recipes are similar, but it is the quantity and mix of spices and alcohol that give Christmas Puddings their distinct flavours. The most important thing when making your puddings is to use dried fruit and spices that have not been sitting in your cupboard since last Christmas, as these will have dried out further and lost a significant amount of flavour. For me, the generous use of orange and lemon zest / juice in the recipe is important as it adds liveliness to the pudding which complements the spices and cuts through the richness. When making your puddings always just soak the dried fruit in your chosen alcohol and citrus juices for 24 hours. Add all your ingredients at room temperature and always mix by hand. Do not over-mix as this will break down the fruit to a pulp and also cause the suet and flour to go “gloopy” resulting in a heavy pudding and the fruit will not be distinguishable in the cooked product. How does adding Adnams Spirit of Broadside help with the flavours and aromas? As an Irishman I always had home-made pudding made with Guinness Stout! Since living here in Southwold I have seen many people use stout / porters and strong ales as the main alcohol ingredient. This year I have chosen to use Spirit of Broadside in my recipe after using it to make a sticky ginger cake earlier this year. I found that the spirit worked well with spices, citrus fruit and dark sugars. Is the resulting pudding slightly alcoholic? All the alcohol is cooked out but there is a pleasant aroma and aftertaste of the Spirit of Broadside. I have toned-down the flavour of the Spirit with a few pints of Broadside in the mix to accommodate most palates! What do you suggest serving the pudding with? This all down to personal choice. With ale / stout-based puddings, I do not think you can beat a traditional Brandy Sauce. I will either serve this, or to be a little different I might create a Spirit of Broadside and Citrus Custard. Head Chef Rory Whelan and his Christmas PuddingDo you like to set light to your pud? If so, what spirit do you use and why do you do it? I will always set my pudding alight at home. I find that a brandy or Whisky work best, usually resulting in a clean, contrasting flavour and gently 'warming' the palate as you eat it. I'll be giving it a go with Adnams Whisky this year! What’s Christmas Day like for you as a Chef at the Hotel? No one likes to work Christmas! But, in this trade, I have to say it is one of the most enjoyable days to work! Everyone is in good spirits and it is great to put smiles on people's faces cooking up Christmas lunches they wouldn’t necessarily be able to achieve at home.   If making your own pudding seems like a bit too much like hard work on a Sunday, then treat yourself to an Adnams Broadside Christmas Pudding (£12.99 for 900gm, or £7.99 for 450gm). Shhhh - no-one will know, as long as you hide the label! Rory's Christmas Puddings will be available at The Swan Hotel throughout December.


Sarah Groves