Ask Peter: Microwave pud
We will be camping (glamping at the beach) this Christmas, but I can’t do without the pudding. I have my favourite recipe but plan to reduce it down for two people. Generally I reheat the pudding I made a few months prior all day in crockpot before serving. This year I don’t want to have to reheat for hours. Could I reheat it in a microwave? Linda
I’m with you on the microwave reheating! Around 10 years ago on Christmas Eve I read the box that the Christmas pudding we were going to be eating came in. I was quite surprised that the “steam method” said to cook for 1 ½ hours, whereas the microwave version was 4 minutes.
One part of me felt that to microwave such a venerated pudding was sacrilegious, but the environmentalist in me felt that surely this was a much better solution, long term, for the planet.
It just seemed more sensible — you don’t waste water steaming it, you use less energy heating it, and you needn’t wash a pot and steamer afterwards.
I still feel this way and will be doing the same at our London home this year. In fact I’m writing this on a flight back from Aberdeen, as I’ve been up in Dufftown visiting the Balvenie and Glenfiddich whisky distilleries and we bought gorgeous Walker’s (the Scottish shortbread company) Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky Christmas puddings for Christmas Day.
For reference, their 227g puddings take 2 to 2½ minutes, with 1 minute resting before you take the lid off. Rather like reheating a ready-meal, your microwave won’t be cooking it, just warming it up.
I wouldn’t make a reduced-sized pud though. I’d suggest you make the normal amount, because one of my favourite things to do with extra pudding (or Christmas cake) is to slice it 1 cm thick and pan-fry the slices in butter until they caramelise, then flip them over and do the same to the other side.
Alternatively, grill 1½ cm thick slices on the barbecue. Serve with whipped cream and strawberries, or stonefruit and icecream, as a pudding a few days closer to New Year so your family don’t have dried-fruit-fatigue. The caramelisation of the fruit and the cake transforms the pudding and takes it to another, almost more delicious, level.
If you're craving some figgy pudding, make sure to try Geoff Scott's recipe for figgy pudding, tropical fruits and butterscotch sauce
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you're stumped over something food-related, send your question to email@example.com and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes on our site.