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Did you see The Hairy Bikers visit Burtree Puddings, Darlington?

As part of their BBC Two series The Hairy Bikers Go North For Christmas, Dave Myers and Si King visit this bakery to get the recipe for its ultimate award-winning Christmas puddings.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 23.12.2021

The Hairy Bikers have set their sights on dishing up the ultimate Christmas dinner, inspired by Northern producers who are revolutionising the British food scene.

From turkey doner kebab starters and gourmet marshmallows to award-winning Christmas puddings and frangipane mince pies, this one-off special promises a fabulous three-course festive feast with a twist.

Dave Myers and Si King hail from opposite sides of the North and felt it had been too long since their families got together around one table for a proper celebration. So, they hatched a plan to ride the backbone of the North – the Pennines – to meet, taste, and be inspired by award-winning local food artisans and producers to give their families the best Northern Christmas ever.

The hunt to create the ultimate Christmas dinner takes the bikers to Todmorden on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border, Darlington, Bollington in Cheshire, Sheffield and then Doncaster.

On the show, they’re on the hunt for an extraordinary dessert, so they pay Burtree Puddings in Darlington a visit. Run by husband-and-wife team Robert and Lea, their bakery has received many awards for their Christmas puddings. Traditionally, Christmas puddings contain 13 ingredients to present Jesus and his apostles, but Robert and Lea put the bikers to the test and spill the secrets to their recipe which has an incredible 21 ingredients.

Robert and Lea used to raise turkeys on their family farm, but the farm began to struggle so they’ve swapped the Christmas main course for the pudding. But having bet their farm on their pudding business, the risk has paid off and now they’re a real success story, making 7000 Christmas puddings a year.

‘When we started farming, it wasn’t brilliant at the turn of the millennium time, so we decided it would be a help to do something else,’ says Robert. ‘It was Lea who started doing some baking and we got into farmer’s markets. We’ve done quite well out of that. It’s gone from being a small weekend thing to a full-time job. This one we make on the show is our traditional Christmas pudding recipe which has brandy and brown ale – Newcastle’s, of course.’

And after putting Burtree’s family handmade recipe to the test, the Hairy Bikers were impressed. “There is something lovely about taking the time to cook for your nearest and dearest at Christmas, but this time we were looking for surprising alternatives to the typical festive menu,’ Si King says. ‘You know the Christmas pudding is going to be good. It’s filled with so much good stuff.

‘The smell is wonderful and it is so moist. It’s fabulous. This very special Christmas dinner is a celebration of our love of the best food produced in the North of England and our shared friendship.’

Dave Myers adds: ‘My wedding, ten years ago, was the last time both families got together, so we thought the best way to celebrate such a special occasion was to cook a Christmas feast, but with a twist. Our families will not be expecting some of the food we’ve prepared, such as the turkey doner kebab starter, which hands down is one of the most exciting dishes we have cooked. It’s a game-changer for Christmas.’


If you missed the episode, watch the full series on BBC iPlayer.

For more information about Burtree Puddings, visit their website.

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