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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Steaming of Christmas Pudding

    Hi, I was wondering if you have a scientific explanation for why I need to steam the pudding for x hours on Christmas day? My husband wants to heat it up in the oven as that is how his mum did it 50 years ago! Need help! H

    From the nigella team:

    Steaming is a very gentle method of cooking as the heat of the steam is a consistent 100c/212F.  A Christmas pudding is quite a dense mixture and needs long gentle cooking to prevent the outside burning before the inside is cooked. The same theory holds for reheating a pudding as it will take some time for the pudding to heat right through to the centre. The oven also has very dry heat which could cause the pudding to become a little dry.

    You could reheat the pudding in the oven if you put it in a deep roasting tin and add hot water to come about 1/3 up the side of the pudding basin. Tightly cover the whole lot with foil and put into an oven preheated to 180c/350F for 2 hours - checking every 40 minutes and topping up the water levels if necessary. However this is somewhat unwieldy and we would caution that you do need to be very careful when moving around with a tin of hot water. Also if the pudding is in a plastic basin then it should not be heated in the oven.

    On a practical note steaming a pudding on top of the stove is also normally easier on Christmas day as the oven is usually occupied by the turkey, roast potatoes plus any baked or roasted accompaniments.

    Slices of leftover Christmas pudding can be reheated in the oven if wrapped tightly in foil. We suggest 180c/350F for about 20 minutes. The slices can also be reheated by frying in a little butter.

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