August still counts as winter, right? So Christmas in JulyAugust isn’t too much of a stretch.

One of the more exciting emails to land in my inbox recently was an invitation to The Langham Melbourne for a Christmas in July Pudding Making Workshop. Apparently the workshop is something of a tradition for the hotel and we’d be making the same puddings as the ones you’d eat at the hotel’s restaurants around Christmas time.

On a cold winter’s night a bunch of food media types donned aprons and a chef’s toque to get their hands into some dough and to learn about chocolate in The Langham‘s commercial kitchens with executive chef Anthony Ross.

I think the pictures speak for themselves – what a lovely, gooey, boozy mess! We’re talking kilos of butter and almond/hazelnut meal, alcohol soaked mixed fruit and liberal glugs of Guinness stout and brandy.

We each got to pick a silver charm and pack a pudding basin with the mixture, and then they were all whisked away to be matured at the Langham for the next 5 months until they were ready to be delivered to us in December. I’ll keep you posted!

In the next room, pastry chef Zara taught us all about the origins and quality of chocolate, including why and how to temper chocolate, how to make chocolate truffles and fruit and nut clusters, both perfect as Christmas gifts. Here’s Necia Wilden (food writer for The Australian) showing us that food journalists (and bloggers) know how to cook too!

These Florentines were just there for the taking….waaay too tempting (along with the bags of Callebaut couverture…)

If you want to replicate The Langham’s Christmas pudding at home, here’s the recipe:

  • 315g butter
  • 185g almond meal
  • 185g hazelnut meal
  • 250g sultanas
  • 250g raisins
  • 320g currants
  • 65g mixed peel
  • 190g brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 135ml brandy
  • 65g chopped figs
  • 30ml water
  • 8g mixed spice
  • 1.5g salt
  • 155ml eggs
  • 1 large lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 large orange (zest and juice)
  • 80ml stout
  • 30ml milk

Method:

  1. Make a syrup with the brown sugar, water and brandy
  2. Add to the fruit and let fruit soak for up to a month
  3. Mix butter, hazelnut meal and almond meal
  4. Mix spices, salt, eggs, zest, juice, stout and milk together, then add to nut and butter mixture
  5. Finally, add figs and brandy soaked fruits and mix
  6. Grease pudding moulds with butter
  7. Fill in pudding mixture
  8. Cook in water bath for 4 hours
  9. When cooled, remove from the mould and store in a cool dry place

To cook:

  1. Place 1 layer of baking paper and 1 layer of foil around the top of the pudding and tie securely with kitchen string
  2. Lower into a saucepan of boiling water (pudding needs to be 3/4 submerged)
  3. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow to boil for 2 to 3 hours
  4. Top up water if required.

Makes one 2kg pudding.

To read more about the workshop, check out the food blogger rollcall: Sarah Cooks, Iron Chef Shellie, I Eat Therefore I AmOff the Spork and Addictive & Consuming. To read about my decadent afternoon tea at The Langham’s Aria Bar, click here.

Thank you to the The Langham Melbourne for inviting me to the Christmas in July Pudding Making Workshop.