We test the best Xmas puds from Tesco's 'boozy' treat to Aldi's 'incredible' showstopper whose price you won't believe

THE second the Christmas pudding hits the table is, for me, about the finest moment of the entire year.

All the hard work is done. Everyone is fed and happy – or at least that is the plan – and there is still cheese, the Queen’s speech, presents, games and, hopefully, a much-needed snooze to look forward to.

Christmas pud is testament to the power of marketing. Like turkey, even if you don’t like it, you’d have to be quite a bold host not to have it on the menu. So, in the interests of the perfect Christmas dinner, I tried seven supermarket own-brand desserts.

I rate each out of five for taste, size and shape, booziness and cost for an overall score out of 20.

Tesco Finest 12 Month Matured with Courvoisier VS Cognac (100g), £1.50: 17/20

GREAT value for money. This would make a wonderful afternoon pick-me-up with a steaming hot cuppa.

It’s smoother looking than the others and the brownest. The booziness is discernible, although it wasn’t as hard hitting as some of them.

This made for a lighter recipe though, which I actually, particularly enjoyed and it might even be delicate enough to tempt stick-thin great aunt Mabel to try a nibble come Christmas lunch.

Best served with some strong clear spirit such as eau de vie.

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  • Taste: 5.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Booziness: 3.
  • Cost: 5.
  • Verdict: Pretty jazzy, if not the full rock and roll.

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Waitrose Duchy Organic Richly Fruited (400g), £6: 16/20

THIS has a 12 per cent cider content. Bulking up the booze element with cider rather than higher taxed spirits is a cost-effective way to boost the festive cheer factor and works quite well.

Knowing the royals’ penchant for a tipple, I think Prince Charles might be slightly disappointed with the alcohol content as it carries the Duchy brand that he created, but it does have a supremely satisfying dense and quite cakey texture.

A princely size, though, and a very pleasing shape.

Best served with hot custard.

  • Taste: 5.
  • Size and shape: 5.
  • Booziness: 3.
  • Cost: 3.
  • Verdict: Perfect for kids, but Granny’s chunk might need a dash more sherry.

Aldi Specially Selected 12 Month Matured (400g), £1.35: 18/20

IT lingers on the palate, though in the most pleasing way, and should set you up perfectly for a sofa snooze during the Queen’s speech.

How can they do this and put it all in a microwaveable tray and a Christmassy looking box for £1.35?

It’s incredibly good value, but then that’s what we’ve come to expect from the discounters. Morrisons is worth paying a smidge extra for but this ticks all the boxes nonetheless.

Best served with a big slug of cognac.

  • Taste: 4.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Booziness: 5.
  • Cost: 5.
  • Verdict: If it’s value for money you’re looking for this is the one to grab. However, none of them are a bad deal.

Lidl 24 Month Matured (800g), £8.99: 18/20

A PLEASING round shape and there should be more than enough to feed a turkey-stuffed crowd.

It would make a really good breakfast, especially if you have been involved in any overindulgence.

It’s got everything you need to get back on your feet: Sweetness, traditional spice and warming alcoholic goodness. I’m awarding extra marks for the brandy-soaked glace cherries.

While it doesn’t have the highest listed alcohol content, it makes every drop of booze count. Best served with hot cream.

  • Taste: 5.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Cost: 4.
  • Booziness: 5.
  • Verdict: Winner winner, Christmas dinner.

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference 18 Month Matured (100g), £2: 15/20

THIS little beauty carried an extra dose of rich oiliness. There’s a nice crunchy element to the texture and it’s brimming with all the Christmassy flavours.

This had an extra-long maturing period, which I think made it delicious. The great thing about these individual servings is that not much goes to waste.

And you just pop it in the microwave. but I can’t help thinking this would be spectacular with more booze.

Best served with raisins that have been pre-soaked in your favourite spirit for a day or two.

  • Taste: 4.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Booziness: 3.
  • Cost: 4.
  • Verdict: Extra booze would have made a real difference.

Asda Extra Special 9 Month Mature Luxury (100g), £1.50: 17/20

A LITTLE bit dry looking, like it could use a drink, but there’s a nice deep raisin flavour, you can taste the booze and it’s only £1.50. That’s nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

Although the super-markets will have their own recipes, I suspect many use the same manufacturer for their Christmas puds. This keeps costs down.

The discounters have done a really good job at keeping other supermarkets on their toes in recent years, and this pud is testament to that.

Best served with raisins soaked in anything boozy.

  • Taste: 5.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Booziness: 3.
  • Cost: 5.
  • Verdict: Dependable. Fit for purpose.

Morrisons 12 Month Matured (100g), £2: 19/20

LOOKING good on paper, containing as it does an entire smørgasbord of different festive tipples.

Cider, rum, brandy, sherry and cognac all feature on the ingredients list.

Surprisingly, this was the driest of the bunch but it had a unique nutty appeal. It tasted good, if not as boozy as I had expected.

The alcohol cuts through the dense richness of all the fruit and festive spice in a pleasing fashion. Best served with cheese. Blue cheese and Christmas pud would make for a truly spectacular mouthful.

  • Taste: 5.
  • Size and shape: 4.
  • Booziness: 5.
  • Cost: 5.
  • Verdict: This is the Top of the Pops Christmas no1.

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