A few months ago I received an un-solicited approach from a UK company, asking "Would I care to review their Pudding Mould"?
I replied, "of course, just as long as you understand that I will tell people what I REALLY think of it"!
It is a small, aluminium round mould, built in two halves, that fit together and form a nice round sphere. The two halves are held together by a spring steel clip, which also doubles as a handle. This clip is secured to a base which convieniently gives the pudding mould a flat base to allow it to sit upright (not really a good description,as there is no "upright" for a sphere)!
Using the recipe found on this site, it's a simple job to use this mould to produce a very good looking, traditionally shaped Christmas Pudding.
There is one very important adjustment to make when this mould is used, you MUST allow some room for pudding expansion. My initial guess was to allow a depression about the size of a dessert spoon (the bowl of the spoon, not the whole spoon)! As I discovered during steaming..... it wasn't enough, and the pudding was expanding and oozing out of the sides, and into the steaming water, this by the way, does no harm. It's easy to adjust before you start, just leave a larger depression, in volume; about the size of half a egg, not in the shape of half an egg, it should be just a simple depression in the mixture..
Step by step instructions;
Open the mould by twisting the sphere around by 90 degrees (as explained in the instruction sheet supplied with the mould).
Make sure the mould is clean by washing prior to use, carefully dry the mould, and coat the inside with thin coating of suet using a small lump of suet, this will allow the pudding to release easily when you remove it from the mould.
Fill the bottom half sphere of the mould (the half without the little hole) witih the pudding mixture, pressing down the mixture to ensure no gaps or voids. mound up to make it an almost complete sphere, leaving a flat top. This flat top serves two purposes, one to allow for pudding expansion, and when the pudding is trurned upside down, this will make a stable base. Now place the second half sphere over the heaped up pudding mixture, and press the two half spheres together.
Now place the completed sphere on the base, and bring the clip over the sphere, and locate the clip into the small grove.
Place the complete mould into the saucepan, making SURE that the water does NOT cover the middle of the mould (the middle joint where the two half spheres join).
Now, just steam following my standard recipe instructions.
If this is the steaming and not the reheating, let the pudding cool down, not totally cold, as we need the warmth to keep the suet soft. When removing the mould, just simply remove the clip, and take one half of the mould in each hand, and twist them. Do not try to pull the two halves apart until you have twisted the two halves, this will ensure that one half of the pudding has been released (It is easy to pull the pudding into pieces if you do not TWIST FIRST!)
To release the pudding from the second half sphere will be easy, and the pudding should almost fall out (I sometimes hook my fingernails under the rim, and shake the mould carefully, keeping the pudding very close to the serving plate, you don't want it rolling around the kitchen like a football)! If it does not release easily, use a fork and insert a point into the small hole to help release the pudding. If this is not sucessful carefully take a flexible knife or something similar, and carefully slide around the edge, then try shaking the pudding loose once more.
When storing the pudding, it is important that you remove the pudding from the mould, as the fruit acids in the pudding will attack the aluminium mould. You can store the pudding in greaseproof paper, and follow that with two layers of foil.
For reheating on the day, just unwrap, place back into the mould, and steam, following the recipe.
My personal opinion? the mould worked very well, the shape was perfect, it looked like a typical "Charles Dickens" pudding!
I should point out that the mould suppled was too small for my recipe, and there was an amount left over, I would suggest the next size up from the two pint mould.
The pudding mould supplied to me is the 2 pint (1 Litre approx) 5" Spherical Mould, made by Alan Silverwood Ltd in Birmingham. Website