This nursery classic is a solid, space-filling, rib-sticking pudding that'll fill you up and fuel you for hours. Deceptively light and fluffy and often rolled like a jam roly-poly, it should also be served with lashings of custard. Oh, and stop sniggering at the back. According to one theory, the "spots" are the raisins; the "dick" is the dough, or dog, if it's rolled.
Odds-on favorite for "best-named pudding in history," the clootie dumpling is a spiced suet delight, studded with fruit and steamed in a cloth (or clootie). It's a Scottish recipe similar to Christmas pudding, but lighter and with less fruit, generally served sliced and often made to mark celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas.
Sussex Pond Pudding
My personal favorite, and a source of regional pride (I'm a Sussex lass), the Sussex Pond Pudding is a suet pastry pudding with a lemon, called a "frog," at its center. As the pudding steams, the lemon releases its juices, and when the pudding is cut, a fragrant, tartly sweet lake of buttery sauce pools out. It's truly the queen of puddings.
And if the Sussex Pond Pudding is the queen, this magnificent double-steamed beast is most certainly the king. Packed with more fruit and nuts than a shop full of Whole Foods hippies, it's rich, dark and strongly flavored as it's allowed to mature before its final steaming. They're traditionally made on Stir Up Sunday (the last Sunday before Advent) but some swear they're best when allowed to mature for years.
As a vital part of a British Christmas lunch, a proper Christmas pud should be crowned with holly, doused in brandy and set on fire, borne into the dining room by a triumphant cook. My mother sloshes on the brandy with great enthusiasm -- so far no lost eyebrows.
You'll likely only manage a small portion, but don't worry about leftovers. My Scottish mother-in-law remembers her grandmother and great-aunt frying slices of Christmas pudding in butter and lemon juice on Boxing Day. And if that doesn't clog your arteries warm the cockles of your heart, I don't know what will.