Belfast Telegraph

6 perfect Christmas puddings to keep the family sweet

We've six of the best to lull you into a post-dinner snooze

By Taylor Heyman

Whatever your Christmas pudding requirements, the high street's biggest stores have got you covered this year. From traditional to glitter-covered and puds with a twist, there are so many delectable delights to choose from. Here are our favourites.

1. For the luxury lovers: Deluxe 24-Month Matured Christmas Pudding, £11.99, Lidl

Laced with cognac, this pud packs a punch while melting in the mouth. This multi-award winning dessert was a winner in the BBC Good Food Christmas Taste Awards this year and got a best buy plaudit from the Which? consumer testing panel. And it does indeed pass muster with its fruity filling and beautiful consistency - and an alcoholic zing for those who love the warming flavour of brandy. The matured aspect of this sweet treat means a rich, delicious, spice-laden mouthful every time. Whether you prefer a small dollop of cream or custard, this is a feast for the senses with its fruity aroma.

Our verdict: 8/10

2. For the adventurous: Heston from Waitrose Persian Spiced Christmas Pudding, £14, Waitrose.com

Supermarkets adding a twist to traditional Christmas fare is risky business, but Heston has helped Waitrose pull a blinder here. This Middle Eastern marvel contains pistachios, apricots and pomegranate liqueur, wrapped around an oozing honey and rose-butter centre. The liquid centre negates the need for cream, although it makes a perfectly good accompaniment if you so choose. If you want to polish off your celebration with a bang, this will certainly impress your guests. Not only does it taste divine, but its copper coating stands out from the other Christmas puddings.

Our verdict: 9.5/10

3. For those who've eaten too much Christmas dinner: Taste the Difference, 18-Month Matured cognac laced Christmas pudding, £8, Sainsbury's

Despite the inclusion of cider, cognac, sherry, brandy and rum, this is not a Christmas pudding overpowered by any one element. Rather, this is a pudding with a rich flavour but excellent balance, being not overwhelmingly nutty, not over-saturated with fruit, and with a subtly bitter aftertaste that left a tang of Christmas in the mouth. Perhaps most importantly, this was a pudding that didn't leave you feeling as though a bag of cement was solidifying in your stomach afterwards - it's a rare thing to find a Christmas pudding light enough to eat a proper portion of, but filling enough to send you comfortably into an afternoon snooze on the sofa.

Our verdict: 8.5/10

4. For the booze hounds: Finest Christmas Pudding, £5, Tesco

Expect a boozy punch from this indulgent pud. It has all the usual traditional ingredients such as vine fruits, sultanas and more, alongside brandy-soaked glace cherries to get the party going. With a hearty helping of Courvoisier VS cognac and some sherry too, this packs a sweet seasonal punch. Meanwhile, nuts add a tasty crunch to the texture. It's particularly good with a touch of ice cream to take the edge off, leaving you braced and ready for a post-dinner stroll to burn off the filling yuletide fare.

Our verdict: 8/10

5. For the traditionalists: Iceland Luxury Christmas Pudding with a Brandy Sauce Centre, £6.

This dessert offers up a gelatinous texture and a combination of the fruits that is nice rather than notable. And for exhausted cooks who don't want to scrimp on all the trimmings, this pudding has a brandy sauce core inbuilt, which oozes pleasingly out to ensure proper Christmas afters all round. There are delightful cinnamon and nutmeg flavours which leave you feeling full of the season's cheer.

Our verdict: 6/10

6. For the connoisseurs: 12-month Matured Vintage Christmas pudding, £14, Marks & Spencer.

A perfect combination of fruits and booze, this pudding cries out for cream or brandy butter to polish off your meal. Matured over 12 months, it is sticky, boozy and will keep you coming back for more, even if you are full to the brim with turkey. A pleasure to set alight for the full Christmas pudding effect.

Our verdict: 9/10

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