They say "the proof is in the pudding" and that is certainly the case at Adamstown Pudding Kitchen, where each year the not-for-profit organisation, located just behind the Adamstown Uniting Church cooks, wraps and sells more than 9,000 Christmas puddings to help a variety of worthy causes.
It’s an impressive feat, fueled by lashings of brandy, quality ingredients and a community spirit that has resulted in more than $1 million being donated to worthy projects since its establishment.
Apart from a closely guarded recipe, the secret to their success is the host of passionate volunteers who give up their time to help out with everything from cooking and wrapping the puddings to working the shopfront and various stalls where the delicious treats are sold.
“We’re making more than 9,000 puddings a year, and they’re all handmade – hand mixed, boiled in cloth and wrapped up in gift boxes or calico,” Adamstown Pudding Kitchen sales and marketing manager Penny Price said.
“We’re a not-for-profit organisation, and we have just three paid staff including our head chef Sandra Bevan, but there are also approximately 40 passionate volunteers who we just could not manage without."
The tradition was established in 1971 when a church member, grateful for her younger brother’s safe return from
the Vietnam war, turned to her grandmother’s family recipe to make puddings for a church fundraiser. More than 45 years later, charity and community spirit are still the key ingredients in the operation of the Adamstown Pudding Kitchen, with profits going towards a range of worthy charitable causes within the Hunter and further afield.
Chief among the beneficiaries is Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast, as well as supporting overseas projects to provide fresh water in Africa, school education in the Pacific and community development in East Timor.
Of course, its charitable efforts wouldn’t be as successful if it wasn’t for the high quality of its culinary offerings – and these are certainly second to none.
Exciting the taste buds of satisfied customers across the Hunter and throughout Australia, the Adamstown Pudding Kitchen’s core product – the traditional Christmas pudding, is still cooked using the same family recipe for which the exact measurements and method of combining them is a carefully guarded secret.
The Adamstown Pudding Kitchen has branched out over the years to create low-fat and gluten-free versions, as well as a new range of gourmet puddings with flavours that include apricot and ginger, date, lemon tang and double choc cherry - superb when accompanied by the white chocolate and fresh cardamom sauce.
“Of course, we continue to have our core range of decadent dessert sauces that can be mixed and matched with the puddings as well as a range of gourmet jams, pickles and chutneys that are designed to be seasonal, with ingredients chosen at the markets for whatever is available at the time," said Penny.
"The exciting news this year is that we have extended the gourmet range to include chocolate covered Pudding Bites which are sure to appeal to a new generation of pudding connoisseurs."
"There are three different types of Pudding Bites to choose from – the Traditional Pudding covered in the new Barry Callebaut ruby chocolate, an Apricot Pudding covered in white chocolate and the Sticky Date Cups consisting of a dark chocolate cup filled with date pudding and butterscotch sauce. They are all unbelievably delicious and are sure to be a regular feature on many dessert menus all year round."
The addition of the new Barry Callebaut ruby chocolate is particularly exciting for the Pudding Kitchen as the Swiss chocolate manufacturer only unveiled the ruby chocolate to the world in September last year and is a completely new variety of chocolate that only reached Australian shores in August this year.
The Pudding Kitchen is open from July to December, but all puddings are available for purchase at the shopfront located behind the Adamstown Uniting Church. Puddings can also be ordered online at www.adamstownpuddingkitchen.org.au or at select Lifeline stores leading up to Christmas.