|This Christmas pudding is decorated with skimmia rather than holly|
Many households have their own recipe for Christmas pudding, some handed down through families
|A Christmas pudding being flamed after brandy has been poured over it.|
Christmas puddings are often dried out on hooks for weeks prior to serving in order to enhance the flavor. This pudding has been prepared with a traditional cloth rather than a basin.
Prior to the 19th century, the English Christmas pudding was boiled in a pudding cloth, and often represented as round. The new Victorian era fashion involved putting the batter into a basin and then steaming it, followed by unwrapping the pudding, placing it on a platter, and decorating the top with a sprig of holly.
Initial cooking usually involves steaming for many hours. To serve, the pudding is reheated by steaming once more, and dressed with warm brandy which is set alight. It can be eaten with hard sauce, brandy butter, rum butter, cream, lemon cream, ice cream, custard, or sweetened béchamel, and is sometimes sprinkled with caster sugar.
Many families buy their puddings readymade from shops and they can be reheated in a microwave oven with a much shorter cooking time.
Christmas puddings have very good keeping properties and many families keep one back from Christmas to be eaten at another celebration later in the year, often at Easter. Constance Spry records that it was not uncommon to go so far as to make each year's pudding the previous Christmas.