When Warner Bros. Studio London announced it would host a Harry Potter Christmas feast, the editorial staff knew what we had to do: try to re-create it for anyone at home, Flaming Christmas pudding included. I had never made or tried Christmas pudding in my life, so I consulted Nigella Lawson's ultimate Christmas pudding recipe, which requires over a dozen ingredients, a "pudding basin" (I used a mixing bowl and a silicon top), and nine hours of "steaming."
I'll be honest; the first day of cooking, I became overly confident. Everything went according to plan, and I laxed up. But the second day was far from hitch-free. A few hours into the second day of cooking, the steam caused some pretty serious condensation on the top of the pudding. OK, it was more like a few inches of flooding. I scurried to the sink and poured out the water and threw the bowl in the oven to absorb some of that moisture. When it came to plopping the pudding out of the bowl, part of the top stuck to the bottom of the bowl. My co-worker "eeped," but I grabbed a spatula and pressed the broken bit onto the top. No harm done!
Then it came to the dramatic "flaming" part. I had watched and rewatched this YouTube how-to, which involves a soup ladle and a candle, but I would have died if I had accidentally spilled a bunch of flaming alcohol on my co-worker's white linen tablecloth. So, I opted for the "safe route" of pouring the alcohol around the pudding and lighting it with a long campfire match (it sort of felt like I was using a wand). But that didn't result in a grandiose fire! Instead, blue flames flickered lazily around the edges of the bowl. I probably need a few more practices before I become a flamin' dessert expert.
Disappointed but not discouraged, I dolloped some whipped cream on top and served up the decadent dessert. Everyone had about a bite's worth; while they liked the spiciness and dried fruit, no one went back for seconds the next day at work. It's a rather rich dessert! Christmas pudding is like our American version of fruitcake, although a hell of a lot more demanding to make, and frankly, I don't think as good. I think our American palates would find something like sticky toffee pudding to be a much more magical experience. Note it for the next time you throw a Harry Potter Christmas feast.