How to microwave Christmas pudding – and whether you can reheat it the next day

ALONG with the turkey and mulled wine, Christmas pudding is one of the staples of a festive feast.

However, the dessert – usually exclusively enjoyed on December 25th – is not the most straightforward dish to serve up.

Firstly, a bit of history – it is traditionally comprised of thirteen ingredients to symbolise Jesus and the Twelve Apostles.

These include dried fruits and treacle, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

There's also an age-old custom where a sixpence is added to the pudding, and the person to find it will receive wealth and good luck in the year to come.

While it's a deliciously simple treat, knowing how to cook your shop-bought or homemade pudding can be a little confusing.

Steaming first is important for the flavour of the pudding

Most experts recommend you steam it first – which is best done in advance of Christmas Day as it can take several hours.

Nigella Lawson recommends on her website doing this for eight hours because it is "important for the flavour of the pudding".

According to Doves Farm, two hours is enough to get a yummy result.

If you are short of time, you can also heat it up in the microwave – although be careful as it's easy to overdo it.

How to steam your pudding on the hob

  1. Cover the pudding basin with tin foil, tucking it in well at the outer rim. 
  2. Stand the pudding in the bottom of a large pan and add boiling water until it comes halfway up the pudding basin. 
  3. Put the lid on the pan and simmer gently for 2 hours.
  4. Lift the lid occasionally and add more boiling water to keep the level halfway up the pudding basin. 
  5. Leave the puddings to cool in the water then remove and store them in a cool dark place for up to two months.
  6. Re-heat the pudding before serving.

Source: Doves Farm

Nigella cautions that you must use a microwaveable bowl, such as a plastic one since ceramic can get very hot.

According to Doves Farm, if you're opting for the microwave route it is best to heat the pudding up in advance of Christmas Day, before allowing to cool.

How to microwave a pudding

  1. Loosely cover the pudding with a piece of cling film. 
  2. Microwave on medium-high (600 watts) for 3 minutes, leave to stand for 1 minute and cook for a further 3 minutes. 
  3. Leave the pudding to cool, remove the film, cover tightly with tin foil and store in a cool dark place for up to two months.
  4. Re-heat the pudding before serving.

Source: Doves Farm

On December 25th, regardless of whether you have steamed or microwaved the pudding in advance, you will need to reheat it in the microwave.

But beware that the pudding should not be re-heated by microwave more than twice.

How to re-heat a pudding in the microwave

  1. Remove the tinfoil, check the pudding is in good condition and replace the parchment layer. 
  2. Cover the pudding loosely with cling film. 
  3. Microwave on full power (800w) for 3 minutes, leave to stand for 2 minutes. 
  4. Put a plate on top of the pudding basin, carefully invert the pudding and serve.

Source: Doves Farm

However, it's always best to check the specific instructions on your shop-bought pudding, or the recipe directions if you're making one from scratch.

In other Christmas news, we told you how festive music is the key to lulling kids to sleep at Christmas.

We also revealed how a mum tricked her man into thinking she was pregnant with an Elf On The Shelf prank.

And another mum sparked debate by saying it's "manky" to stay in pyjamas for Christmas Day.

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