Is it too early to dream about Christmas puddings? Here are some crackers
PUBLISHED: 13:55 28 September 2019
Cole's has been making them for 80 years. Here are some Christmas puddings past and present. What's your favourite?
It would be wonderful to have a time machine, set the dial for 1939, and materialise in Albert Cole's bakery. In those days - the year it was founded as a family business - it was customary for the town baker to make traditional Christmas puddings for local customers. Imagine the warmth… the aromas… the sense of anticipation…
Eight decades on, the legacy is still with us. In 2019, Cole's Puddings is marking 80 years of pudding-making in the heart of the Essex countryside.
Managing director Simon Hatcher says: "Today we continue the tradition of hand-made quality puddings but we sell to a larger market of consumers in the UK and overseas."
The manufacturer, based near Saffron Walden, says it uses the finest ingredients from across the world. Puddings are baked for up to eight hours - while gently steamed to maintain moistness.
Here's a look at how things have developed. (And we can still buy these types of puddings today!)
(The decade pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier)
The 1940s marked the introduction of Cole's Classic Christmas Pudding, from an original recipe used by Mr Cole. He included breadcrumbs from his own bread - a tradition that continues today.
The addition of locally-brewed premium ale and copious amounts of dried fruit ensures that this rich pudding has a light texture and distinctive flavour, says the firm.
(Elvis Presley brought out his first studio album)
Cole's English Privilege Christmas Pudding was introduced - made with the finest Scotch malt whisky, Madeira, sherry and English ale.
(Man first stepped on the moon)
The spherical Brandy Port & Walnut Christmas Pudding couldn't have been more appropriate. This pudding replicated the style of round puddings from the past that were made in a cloth.
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Cole's BP&W is presented in muslin cloth tied with red ribbon. The dark, rich flavour comes from a combination of port with brandy, prunes, walnuts and apricots.
(Universal Product Code barcodes introduced; scanned for the first time in 1974)
Brandy, a traditional ingredient for many rich puddings, is the key ingredient in the 1970s' Brandy Christmas Pudding - the perfect end, suggests the company, to a festive feast.
(The royal wedding of Charles and Diana)
Prawn cocktails and Black Forest desserts topped menu choices during the 1980s and Cole's replicated the dessert with their own Black Forest Christmas Pudding - made with chocolate, glace cherries and kirsch.
(Nigel Mansell won the Formula One World Championship in 1992)
The glitzy gold-wrapped Champagne Christmas Pudding proved to be a tasty treat and a very acceptable festive gift, says Cole's. It was a very special pudding made with Marc de Champagne and Champagne.
(The launch of YouTube. Speaking of which, see a Cole's film of pudding-making and pudding-racing at https://www.youtube.com/colespuddings)
The era of the Connoisseur Christmas Pudding, when the company introduced a rich pudding infused with French Cognac.
(In 2010 Cole's joined the Tiptree-based Wilkin & Sons family of businesses)
This decade has seen a growing interest in specialist dietary requirements. Cole's offers customers a Gluten Free Christmas Pudding that is gluten-, nut-, alcohol- and dairy-free. It's available in two sizes: 454g for families and 112g for individuals.