5 December 2017

AskRiotACT: Annual hunt for yummy puddings, Christmas cakes and mince pies

| Paul Costigan
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Christmas cakes.

Canberra, where are the best Christmas delights at? Photo: Paul Costigan.

I am not sure when my desire for puddings, Christmas cakes, and mince pies started. It may have been sometime when I was around 14 or 15. The desire to find all these yummy seasonal delights has been with me ever since.

Early 2017 proved to be a bonanza year. It was while visiting Sydney that I came upon a small specialist supermarket that had overstocked on puddings. There, they were drastically reduced. There were rows of the smaller sized puddings by my current favourite pudding maker – Pudding Lane out of Newcastle.

We ate them over several months – as well as giving them as gifts to friends. (Also, note that the Pudding Lane website is out of date).

In the last few years someone had set up a stall at local markets – and it was there that I first discovered what must be close to being the best Christmas puddings I have ever had – well maybe their taste simply wiped out the memory of those before.

Since then, I set out annually to identify a pudding to enjoy over Christmas (and not forgetting to taste the annual offering of mince pies). It seems that the makers come and go regularly and/or the quality can alter from year to year. Discovering Pudding Lane was a godsend.

This year after a search or two in vain, I had to contact the distributers and they let me know some of the outlets in Canberra that were carrying their stock. It took me about twenty minutes and there they were in my shopping bag on their way home.

For your information, the distributers said I could find them at the supermarkets at Ainslie, Garran, Red Hill, Griffith, Chifley, Spence, and Cook among others ­– that is, until they sell out of course.

While most people probably serve pudding with ice-cream or custard, my preference is for a generous serve of yogurt – preferably a Greek yogurt with coconut bits.

As for Christmas cakes – there used to be a maker who sold through a shop in Mittagong. Sadly she stopped making them last year. Luckily I have a friend who makes absolutely yummy Christmas cakes – so I no longer search for these. I hope she has not forgotten me this year.

As for mince pies – now there’s a problem. Again, the best ones used to be from that maker in Mittagong. Alas – no more.

I have yet to find a good local maker of these. I love a generous dose of mince with minimal pasty. Too many have far too much and too thick a pasty. And again, when I find good ones, I serve them up with the same yogurt as above.

I have looked online and can see that someone last year posted on RiotACT about Mince pies. I have looked down that list but so far have not been tempted by them. However, I did note that someone commented that Croissant D’or in Civic was recommended. An exploratory visit to Civic will have to be undertaken soon, but aside from that, my search for the better mince pie still continues.

I would appreciate it very much if others could post messages on their experiences and recommendations with puddings, Christmas cakes, and mince pies. My preference would be to buy from a local supplier.

Over to you – any suggestions?

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