Pre-Christmas Pudding (a la Heston).

I’m trying to keep this one short today. There’s too much going on – too many chocolates to snaffle, for starters. If I don’t pay attention, there’s a risk they might go walkabout…

Anyway, the man and I planned a pre-Christmas dinner last night (we won’t be together for Genuine Christmas, unfortunately – too many family obligations), so I dashed home from work, cooked up a roast (miserably overdoing my potatoes) and prepared myself for the latest seasonal offering from Heston Blumenthal: his Hidden Clementine Christmas Pudding – bought for a few quid from Waitrose.

Now, last year the larger version of these bad boys (which contain a Hidden Orange) caused quite a fuss, with Waitrose running out of stock and desperate foodies bidding on ebay to get one. There were stories of puds sold for £100 or more. Such is the awesome power of Heston.

That time, I was among the unlucky majority (the have-nots), so this year we thought we’d get in on the action, and bought one as soon as they hit the shops. So, I’m sure, did everyone else. Still, even as I write this blog, some deluded soul is trying to auction one off for £150 (RRP £17.99). Fat chance: Waitrose naturally learnt from last year’s madness and have substantially upped their supply – anybody wanting one has probably had it since November.

Anyway, now that these puddings are positively littering the land, what do all these lucky souls have to look forward to? The King of Christmas puds? An outer-body experience?

To be perfectly honest, no.

It was juicy, yes. Fruity and rich. But although that candied clementine was certainly fun to cut in to (oozing with globules of bright orange syrup), the whole combination was sickly sweet. Kind of like a Locket in a fruit cake.

You never know, with a blob of creme fraiche or fromage frais it might come up a treat – you definitely need something to curb the sweetness. However, with tradition demanding custard and brandy butter, I suspect most folks will be wincing at the sugar.

Luckily for me, my cousin is cooking panettone bread-and-butter pudding for the 25th. AND my Granny’s making trifle.

To sum up? Family: 1, Heston: 0.

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