Claridge’s, Christmas and the century-old pudding
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From the ‘speckled, cannon ball’ in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the muslin-wrapped delicacy at Claridge’s, the Christmas pudding has been a festive staple in England for generations. Nearly as old as the tradition itself, our own pudding recipe is a time-honoured, vault-kept secret – with a spoonful of modern-day flourishes.

As the leaves on Mayfair’s Brook Street turn orange and start to fall, the pastry team at Claridge’s are already busy preparing for the festive season ahead. In the Foyer, the smell of cinnamon and sweet fruits fills the air. The making of Claridge’s famous Christmas pudding has commenced.

Bursting with cranberries, sour cherries and golden raisins, the fruit is marinated a week in advance – nowadays in lighter, fruit-based liqueurs and ale. Other, more secret, ingredients are added for layers of festive flavour. Then, just as they have always done, each member of the pastry team stirs the mix by hand and wishes good fortune and goodwill to all. It’s a nod to Claridge’s family spirit, and a timeless ritual characteristically carried out in homes across the country on a day known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’. The added surprise of a silver sixpence, with its promises of wealth and good luck, is a traditional tip for the pudding’s success. Finally, once cooked, each of our puddings is wrapped in white muslin, packaged in our signature eau-de-nil box and finished with a thick satin ribbon to be carried home. Or they are served throughout the season at Claridge’s in the shimmering Foyer & Reading Room, with a classic brandy sauce – and a festive flambé at the table, for a dash of theatre on Christmas Day.

Quintessentially English, the Christmas pudding has long been an emblem of good cheer for those at home and abroad. This year, with piano music playing, presents under the tree and a velvety brandy sauce simmering on the stove, it brings home the comfort and joy of Christmas at Claridge’s.