Sunday 18 December 2011

Figgy's Handmade Luxury Christmas Pudding review

As soon as this Figgy's Christmas Pudding arrived here at The Madhouse, I was oohing and aahing, not to mention taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane, just for the way it looked. This is exactly how I remember the homemade Christmas puddings that my nan used to make, months in advance, when I was a kid. The white pudding cloth and ceramic bowl could have come straight out of her kitchen.

I was therefore not at all surprised to see that each Figgy's Christmas Pudding is indeed homemade, even if it's not by my nan ! On the Figgy's website, they explain : "Our award-winning Christmas Puddings are handmade by our family in Devon. We use only the finest ingredients, including ten-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy and award-winning Port Stout, to create a truly indulgent Christmas Pudding which is both light in texture and rich in flavour. Each Christmas Pudding is matured in a ceramic bowl, allowing the flavours to develop to their full potential and creating the perfect finale to your Christmas dinner."

I was impressed to see on the enclosed letter that they talk about maturing their Christmas puddings, as you would a fine vintage wine or cheese. The letter said : "This pudding was made in July so it's still quite young. We age them so that they are at their best at Christmas time. I'm sure you'll still find it to be delicious but I can assure you it only gets better as Christmas approaches."

You can tell that Figgy's are a company (and a family) who take Christmas puddings very seriously. They explain at the heart of their business is a desire to produce the most luxurious Christmas Puddings ever so they use a family recipe that has been finetuned over the years, the best ingedients - if possible from local producers and suppliers, notably the Port Stout made by the Devon-based O’Hanlon's Brewery and the warm and rich 10-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy made by the Somerset Distillery - and a small bakery near Exeter in Devon.

I've eaten many Christmas puddings in my time but this is about as different from the mass-produced ones that you find on supermarket shelves as chalk and cheese. I always find Christmas pudding to be very dense, heavy and stodgy but this Figgy's pudding was lighter, not to mention delicious, so it's perfect for finishing off a big Christmas dinner without feeling as stuffed as the turkey !

My nan used to spend hours steaming the pud but I have to admit that I've taken to heating mine up in the microwave because it's so much quicker and easier. Howevern Figgy's explain on their website : "Our puddings are steamed in Mason Cash ceramic bowls, allowing the flavours to develop to their full potential and producing a far superior result to plastic. The bowls are then wrapped in a 100% cotton pudding cloth, allowing the pudding to breathe and the flavours to mature in the traditional way. By steaming the pudding to warm it, you’ll ensure none of the fabulous flavours are lost." With a pudding this good, it would be a shame to spoil it by taking a last minute shortcut so it's back to the old-fashioned way of steaming it, especially as it only takes an hour.

The ingredients list already looks impressive - Californian raisins, Australian 5 Crown sultanas, Vostizza currants, carrot, fresh breadcrumbs (wheat flour, palm shortening, free-range egg, water, yeast, sea salt, bread improver: ascorbic acid, vegetable oil, soya), vegetable suet (vegetable oil, wheat flour), demerara sugar, golden syrup, free-range egg, O’Hanlon’s Port Stout (5%), apple, 10-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy (4%), glace cherries (glucose, fructose syrup, sugar, fruit juice: elderberry and aronia, sulphur dioxide), ground almonds, orange juice, lemon juice, mixed peel (orange, lemon, glucose-fructose syrup, acidity adjuster: citric acid), chopped almonds, flour (contains raising agents), orange zest, lemon zest, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg - but when you learn that they buy the apples and carrots from a local greengrocer and grate them themselves and that the breadcrumbs are made by hand using fresh bread from a local organic bakery, it just gets better and better. And you can really can taste in the flavour that they've handpicked each ingredient and taken no shortcuts.

It was a real blast from the past eating a pudding this good and we all said that we had the impression that we were eating a homemade pudding, not a shop-bought one. The last order date for Christmas is the 21st December so get in very very quickly if you don't want to miss out, or if you're looking for the crowinging glory to finish off a homemade foodie hamper for someone special.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £10 small (350g, serves 2-3), £14 medium (550g, serves 4-6), £19 (950g, serves 8-10)

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  1. love christmas pudding - this one sounds nice although a bit pricey x

  2. Aww! I don't think I'd even care how it tasted when it looked so cute :D

  3. Looks yummy! Just made my own today and can't wait to try it.


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