The festive season is upon us, and whether for a dinner party or a cosy night in, there's nothing better at this time of year than a spot of indulgent baking.
When the cold sets in and the nights draw in earlier, all we fancy is a piping hot winter pudding straight out of the oven. So for something truly traditional, a baked, boiled or steamed pudding really hits the spot.
Rich and creamy, with a gorgeous melt-in-the-mouth texture, these homemade desserts are part of our culinary heritage and were first produced in the early Medieval period of Britain.
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But because sugar was a luxury attainable only to the most wealthy, puddings during these times tended to veer on the savoury side featuring meats and offal.
Then, as trade kicked off during the 18th century, these suet mixtures were joined by the first sponge puddings, and boiled and baked batters became more common. Sweet puddings thus began to include all kinds of fruits, jam, spices, meringue, and other mouth-watering delicacies.
Now sweet maple syrups, sticky toffee glazes and chocolate sauce are our most common associations with these delicious desserts. An aid to nostalgia and bringing back childhood memories, they bring comfort and sweetness to the coldest of winter evenings.
And if you're too busy to prepare the classic, yet timely, Christmas pudding, then whipping up one of these irrisistable alternatives to end a festive meal is the perfect solution for treating your sweet-toothed guests.
Easy on the purse and even simpler to make, it's hard to go wrong with a Sticky Toffee Pudding or Bread and Butter pudding.
But for a twist on the traditional formula, add seasonal fruits such as apples and berries for a healthy touch and a great excuse to indulge!
Get baking for Christmas with these delicious and traditional puddings:
Bramley Apple Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pear & Ginger Bread & Butter Pudding
Steamed Maple, Lemon & Blackberry Pudding
Gizzi Erskine's Sticky Toffee Figgy puddings