IT is an ambitious goal, fuelled by lashings of brandy, quality ingredients and community spirit.
Adamstown Pudding Kitchen – the 45-year-old business tucked behind the Adamstown Uniting Church – hopes to extend its trade from a six-monthly-operation to an all-year affair.
Last year the kitchen expanded its lone but phenomenally popular menu offering of traditional Christmas pud to include four other “dessert” puddings: apricot and ginger; double choc and cherry; date and cinnamon; and lemon and sultana.
The move, says Adamstown Uniting Church minister Reverend Rod Pattenden and the church’s council chairperson Jenny Barnes, was designed to build the kitchen’s profile and momentum to open all year.
“Our pudding kitchen opens in June to get ready for Christmas but we are now thinking of letting the public know they can access at our puddings at any time,” says Reverend Pattenden.
The kitchen makes 9000 kilograms of pudding each year and has a faithful following that buys the fruited and non-fruited desserts at the kitchen, at Lifeline shops and at the city farmers markets.
Mrs Barnes believes the pudding kitchen has raised and donated up to $1 million to the community since it began more than four decades ago. These days it clears about $70,000 in net profits annually, of which at least half is given to the needy.
The origins of the pudding kitchen date to 1971, when Novocastrian Dawn Hodgetts turned to her mother and grandmother’s pud recipe to make the dessert for a church fundraiser, in thankfulness that her younger brother Peter returned safely from the Vietnam War.
The venture soon outgrew the home kitchen of Mrs Hodgetts – who later founded the company Newcastle’s Pudding Lady – and moved to Adamstown Uniting Church, where the kitchen is run by an army of volunteers and a few paid staff.
More than just a dessert, the pudding binds the community as volunteers make and wrap the treats with care.
“A pudding is made with love, it’s sharing what you have, not just leftovers,” says Mrs Barnes.