Our panel found a $10 traditional pud took the cake.
Our staff sampled 10 Christmas puds – from traditional plum to contemporary chocolate desserts.
An impressive 25% of Consumer NZ members (of the nearly 270 who answered our survey at least) planned to make their own Christmas pudding this year.
But if the thought of all the chopping and steaming required for a homemade pud leaves you feeling exhausted, there are numerous heat-and-eat products you can buy, from a $6 budget brand to a $45 gourmet import.
Our blind taste test found a $10 supermarket staple held its own against the priciest pudding.
A panel of 10 Consumer staffers – from dessert fans to sceptics – blindly tasted seven traditional and three contemporary chocolate puddings.
Of the classic fruit puds, two were frontrunners in pleasing our panellists: Aunt Betty’s Christmas Plum Pudding (between $8.89 and $9.89) and Pudding Lady Traditional Christmas Pudding ($44.95). Without knowing the price, four staffers selected the Pudding Lady sample as their favourite, compared to three who picked the Aunt Betty’s portion.
The panellists thought fans of Christmas pudding would prefer Pudding Lady’s “dense”, “boozy” and even “a little bitter” taste. In contrast, those who weren’t big on the dessert were pleasantly won over by Aunt Betty’s “moist”, “fruity” and “crumbly” recipe.
Once we revealed the prices, five of the 10 panellists said Aunt Betty’s would be their first-choice buy. Only two stuck with the gourmet Pudding Lady. That’s not surprising – in our survey, only 4% of Consumer members said they’d pay more than $40 for a Christmas pud.
For the remainder, Aunt Betty’s dessert is likely to tickle your guests’ taste buds.
Most of our panellists were less than impressed after tasting the three chocolatey Christmas puddings.
A few wondered why the Aunt Betty’s Christmas Chocolate Fudge Pudding and Ernest Adams Red Velvet and Chocolate Self-Saucing Christmas Pudding were marketed as Christmas puds, considering the desserts had little connection to traditional recipes.
In the blind comparison, five panellists picked David Jones Christmas Pudding With Cherry and Chocolate ($34.95) as their favourite of the three. However, once we revealed its price, just four said they’d buy it. Five staffers said they wouldn’t buy any of the chocolate desserts they’d sampled.
We examined the packs to see where the puddings were made and what they contained – from fruit and nut content to animal fats and palm oil. Both the Ernest Adams fruit and chocolate puddings were unsuitable for vegetarians as they contained beef tallow or animal-derived colouring.
Seven of the 10 puddings noted the type of oil or fat used, if you’re wanting to avoid something specific such as palm oil. The exceptions were Countdown Christmas Traditional Fruit Pudding and Ernest Adams Rich Fruit Christmas Pudding. In response to our query, David Jones specified its Christmas Pudding With Cherry and Chocolate contained sunflower or canola oil.
The Essentials Plum Pudding listed palm oil in the ingredients.
$8.89 - $9.89 for 700g
“Very fruity – though quite boozy and rich”
$6.50 for 600g
“Not very spiced, and lovely texture – not too dense”
“Found it to be quite bland”
$8.49 - $8.69 for 700g
“Not much variation in fruit”
“Too much cinnamon”
$6.00 for 700g
“The sweetest of all the fruit puddings”
“Fruity – flavours aren’t too strong”
$16.00 for 440g
“Alcoholic, with a strong smell and taste”
“Overspiced – I struggled to eat it”
$44.95 for 1kg
“Boozy! Lots of fruit flavours”
“A bit of citrus bitterness but still very good”
$39.90 for 454g
“Nice fruit flavour but wasn’t a fan of the aftertaste.”
“Not rich enough – very fruity”
$6.89 - $8.69 for 650g
“More of a chocolate cake than a Christmas pudding”
“Too sweet. Sauce tastes thin”
$34.95 for 800g
“Very rich taste. Would only be able to eat a small serving”
“It’s odd with the chocolate. Rich and boozy!”
$8.49 - $11.89 for 550g
“No flavour. Like a cupcake”
“A bit boring. Not Christmassy”
GUIDE Price range based on store surveys in November 2019 and excludes delivery. PRICE PER 100G based on the averaged price across all supermarkets and food retailers. Ingredients from on-pack nutritional information. SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS information provided by the company. NA = not applicable. Puddings without nuts listed in ingredients may contain trace amounts of nuts.
In our questionnaire, we asked respondents what they liked to serve with their Christmas pudding:
Brandy butter, brandy sauce (or hard sauce) and rum sauce were also popular.