Test Kitchen tips
● How to steam a Christmas pudding
You can use a metal pudding steamer or a ceramic pudding bowl. Metal pudding steamers are better than ceramic pudding bowls as the metal will conduct heat more efficiently and are usually sold with a tight-fitting, clip-on lid. You will need to create a cover for the pudding mixture if using a ceramic pudding bowl.
1. Grease the pudding steamer. Trace the base of the steamer onto baking paper; cut out the paper slightly inside the marked circle. Place the paper in steamer to cover base. 2. Place a sheet of foil and baking paper on the bench. Fold a 5cm pleat through centre of both sheets; this allows for expansion during steaming. 3. Place the pudding mixture into steamer. Cover with the pleated foil and baking paper; secure with kitchen string under the rim of the steamer and/or a tight-fitting lid. 4. Place the pudding steamer in a larger boiler or stock pot with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the steamer. Cover the boiler with a tight-fitting lid; weigh lid down with a brick or something else heavy, to reduce water evaporation. 5. Set a kitchen timer to periodically check the water level and top up with more boiling water. Boil for 6 hours.
● Storing Christmas pudding
Regardless of whether the pudding is boiled or steamed, cool the pudding to room temperature, then wrap in plastic wrap and seal tightly in a freezer bag (or place in an airtight container, or return to the cleaned steamer). Store in the fridge for up to two months or freeze for up to 12 months.
● Reheating Christmas pudding
Thaw frozen boiled pudding in fridge for three days. Remove from the fridge 12 hours before reheating. Remove the plastic wrap, cover with a non-floured cloth and tie. Boil for 2 hours, following recipe instructions (opposite). Hang the hot pudding for 10 minutes. Remove cloth; stand for 20 minutes before serving. To reheat a frozen steamed pudding, thaw as for a boiled pudding. Return the pudding to the steamer; steam for 2 hours following the recipe instructions (left). To reheat a whole boiled or steamed Christmas pudding in a microwave, microwave on MEDIUM (55%) for 15 minutes or until hot.