Hi. I will be using the Ultimate Christmas Pudding recipe (with the Pedro Ximenez) for the first time this year and it states you can make the pudding up to six weeks before Christmas. Could it be made earlier? Thank you in anticipation, Eddie
Traditionally Christmas puddings are kept for 6 weeks as they are made on "Stir-Up Sunday" which is the last Sunday before the start of Advent. This year Stir-Up Sunday is 24th November 2013.
You can keep the pudding for longer, but it depends on the conditions in which you keep the pudding. The pudding needs to be kept in a cool and dry place as warm conditions and moisture will encourage mould to grow. Once you have steamed the pudding for the first time then make sure that no water has entered the basin. If it is a plastic basin with a lid then remove the lid and check, before replacing the lid. If using a different basin and wrapping the pudding then remove the wrapping, check the pudding and re-wrap with fresh clingfilm (plastic wrap) and foil.
If you are keeping the pudding for more than 8 weeks then it may be better to freeze it. If the pudding is wrapped then it can just go in the freezer as is. If in a plastic basin with a lid then wrap it tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil before freezing. The pudding can be frozen for up to 1 year. Thaw the pudding overnight at room temperature and steam as instructed in the recipe. Make sure that the pudding is piping hot all the way through before serving.