I plan to make the Ultimate Christmas Pudding this weekend and store it for approx 3 weeks till Xmas day. I was wondering why the recipe states to use a plastic pudding basin?? I have a metal one would that be fine firstly to cook it in but also to leave it in when the pudding is sitting in the pantry till Xmas day or as it is warm here in NZ would it be best to store in the fridge? Thank you so much. Its been tricky finding the Pedro Ximenez sherry and a butcher who will get me suet so I really want it to turn out great after the effort.
Nigella uses a plastic pudding basin as in the UK they are relatively easy to find, are inexpensive and they have a handy snap-on lid. However, it is perfectly fine to use another type of basin, such as a metal one or an earthenware Cole Mason type basin. If using a metal basin you may like to line it with baking parchment before using as sometimes the acid from the fruit can leave marks on the basin. The cooking time will be the same. We would suggest that you wrap any basin without a lid very carefully to minimize the risk of water getting into the pudding.
Grease the basin well with butter, as in the recipe but once the mixture is in the basin smooth the surface and cover it with a circle of non-stick baking parchment (parchment paper). Wrap the basin tightly with clingfilm (plastic wrap) - wrap 2 or 3 times (in different directions) with clingfilm with the clingfilm going right over the top and completely underneath the basin. Then wrap tightly in a double layer of foil. Steam the pudding, following the instructions in the recipe, then leave to get completely cold. Unwrap the pudding and replace the baking parchment with a fresh piece (you may like to wipe down the outside of the basin too as it can get a bit greasy) then re-wrap the pudding as before. Store the pudding in a cool, dark (but not damp) place until needed then give it a final steaming, again as per the recipe. If it is warm then you can store the pudding in the fridge and it can also be frozen for up to 1 year - thaw overnight at room temperature before giving a final steam.
It is also worth noting that this pudding is lighter in colour than some commercially produced puddings, so don't worry if it doesn't look very dark after the first steaming. It will darken slightly more on the second steaming.