Storing, Preserving, Keeping your Christmas Pudding
Storing or Preserving your Christmas Pudding?
Here are a couple of answers I gave in December 2012 on the Cheftalk website:
The Pudding will keep very well, and could have easily been kept in a cool larder. See my website for my recipe, and LOTS of feedback from Christmas pudding experts & Pudding first-timers!
(25 year hobby site, no ads, just a comprehensive Christmas Pudding site). I hope this will help.
Thanks for the welcome.
In the feedback over 25 years, I remember one visitor saying that they had boiled up a pudding that was over 7 years old. It had been stored in Calico and hung on a hook in a larder.
It was described as being like a rock before it was boiled/steamed (for many hours) before serving, but apparently tasted just fine!
It's really not necessary to keep "feeding" a pudding with brandy, the keeping qualities of a pudding are mostly determined by the amount of sugar (both the added sugar and the sugar in the fruit).
I don't find the taste of pudding improves with too much added brandy, but that IS just my personal taste.
Petit Fours? if you could trim them down to a thin slice, with some sort of brandy butter (or custard) topping, it might just work! Perhaps a sort of sandwich type style?
The above answers are still valid today.
Special instructions for Calico cooked puddings;
If you are steaming your pudding in Calico, it is important before hanging it up in storage:
IT MUST BE TOTALLY DRY ON THE OUTSIDE BEFORE YOU STORE IT. That particularly includes the knot area of the Calico.
The storage area must be cool and DRY
The pudding MUST be hung, you cannot leave it resting on a shelf. It is wise to give the Christmas Pudding a visual check once a month for any signs of mould on the outside of the Calico.
Storing uncooked (raw) pudding mixture?
No! if you have to put the mixture to one side, no more that a couple of hours, or, if stored in the fridge, 24 hours, leaving it too long will cause the uncooked mixture to ferment.
note: when you remove the mixture from the fridge, let it come to room temperature before starting the cooking process.
Pudding Storage FAQ:
Q: Do I need to store my Christmas Pudding in the fridge?
A: No, the alcohol acts slightly as a preservative but mostly the sugar will preserve the pudding as long as it is stored in a cool dark dry place. Not storing your pudding in the fridge will also make more space for those items that need fridge storage.
Q: Do I need to store my Christmas Pudding in the freezer?
A: No, this is unnecessary, it will also stop the pudding maturing. It is also worth noting that it will take a considerable time to thaw before re-steaming.
Q: Do I need to "feed" the Christmas Pudding with alcohol?
A: This seem to have become very popular in last few years, I am guessing that some cooks/chefs said "Well, Christmas Cake needs feeding, so Christmas pudding does too!!!" . I personally believe it is not necessary and I don't think it improves the flavour, However, feel free to do so :-)
Update January 2018
Christmas Pudding stored for 48 years
This was the question Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped posed to scientists at the University of Nottingham and the resounding answer was….yes it is!
see the full article here:
Please note all my comments above regarding storage requirements for your pudding
Here is a question asked of the New Scientist publication: https://www.newscientist.com/lastword/mg23731621-300-sign-of-maturity/ I hope this is answered!