Tuesday, 11 December 2012
gf Christmas pudding test; M&S, Tesco, Jenkins & Hustwit and Village Bakery...and the winner is Tesco!
Four Christmas puddings to try at once. They are very different, surprisingly so. I microwaved them all, after being a little peeved that the instructions on the Jenkins & Hustwit (J&H) one said to 'microwave according to instruction manual'. Who has their instruction manual to hand? I just cooked it for the same time as the Village Bakery (VB) pudding which was almost the same size.
The Village Bakery pudding offered a choice when cooking - to add either a teaspoon of brandy or fruit juice before cooking. I thought that was a nice touch. This was 200g. £3.99
The M&S pudding was an individual 100g portion, though I find that it does for two. £2.00
The J&H pudding is 210g. £4.79
The Tesco pudding was a family size 454g. £3.99
All the puddings released easily from their tubs after heating.
Flavour and texture:
V&B: this had a waxy damp look when it came out of the tub. When I cut it large pieces of fruit were visible, and it cut a bit messily - fine for a pudding. I thought the initial flavour was citrusy but Rod thought it tasted of chicken - a bit odd for a vegan pudding. After the first burst of flavour I was disconcerted by the odd grainy texture. We wouldn't buy this again. I regard Village Bakery as a company that makes good products, and visually this was inviting with the pieces of peel and nuts showing, but the flavour and mouth feel were not good.
J&H: This pudding had a dry look when taken out of its tub. It cut very neatly. I didn't like the odd aromatic flavour. The texture was good, light and not cloying, with all the fruit part of the pudding rather than distinct pieces. An acceptable pudding.
M&S: This pudding is damper than the previous two, with a good rounded dark spicy caramel flavour. It had distinct pieces of fruit and nut but they were not intrusive. It was not cloying or gritty, though I did have something hard in mine- perhaps a bit of shell? A pleasant pudding I would be happy to take to an event - being a single portion makes this useful as a 'handbag food'.
Tesco: This pudding looked shiny and damp when turned out of its pot. It had a slightly bouncy gluey feel to the knife compared to the M&S pudding, but it has a moist and pleasant mouth feel. It isn't claggy or gritty. It has a good, well rounded fruity, citrus, spicy flavour.
We found it hard to choose between the Tesco and M&S pudding. I think it would depend on how many people I wanted to feed more than anything else. I marginally prefer the Tesco pudding but if I wanted one for myself only I would certainly buy the M&S pudding. Checking the prices I see Tesco Free From also do a double pack of 100g pudding for £2.50.
Neither of us liked the other two - I think they will find their way to the bin rather than the fridge after this test.
So, the winner is Tesco for this household.