Can you eat Christmas pudding with alcohol when pregnant?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat Christmas pudding with alcohol when pregnant?”, and what type of foods should be avoided during pregnancy?

Can you eat Christmas pudding with alcohol when pregnant?

No, you cannot eat Christmas pudding with alcohol when pregnant. Sometimes, the alcohol percentage is too small in the dessert and can be safely eaten during pregnancy. 

Most of the alcohol evaporated during the cooking process due to high heat. The problem with most desserts is that they are not cooked so the alcohol did not have a chance to evaporate. 

A 100% alcohol does not get removed so you need to be cautious when eating desserts or Christmas puddings made with alcohol. The residue alcohol content of each cooking method is given below.

Cooking method Cooking time Alcohol remaining 
Flambé (Setting fire to neat liquor e.g. crepes Suzette)2-3 minutes (until flames have died down)75%
Simmering 15 minutes 40%
Simmering 1 hour 20%
Simmering 2 hours 10%
vigorous/rolling boil 30 minutes 10%

If you use a low ABV alcohol during cooking, a significant amount of it will be ‘Cooked out’. For example, a sauce made with 12% ABV wine in it would be left with only 2 – 2.5% alcohol after 1 hour. 

Some fermented foods contain alcohol in minute quantities. For example, the ABV content of soy sauce is 2%, and fermented orange juice has approx. 0.5% ABV. these negligible amounts of alcohol are not considered a safety threat during pregnancy.

Tips to make low ABV foods

Avoid using a slow cooker

A slow cooker operates at very low temperatures and does not reach the boiling temperature of most alcohols. Therefore, cook your food on the stovetop or oven to cook out most of the alcohol.

Add alcohol at the start of the cooking process

Adding the alcohol at the start of the cooking process not only helps with the flavor development but also gives alcohol sufficient time to the cook-off. 

Add alcohol sparingly 

You do not have to go extra with the alcohol to get that boozy flavor in your dish. Keep it modest to get a gentle boozy flavor in the end product. If the recipe calls for using 1 cup of red wine for braising, use half wine and half beef stock instead. Improvise and adapt.

Use alcohol substitutes

Alcohol substitutes such as tomato juice, apple juice, aromatic broths or stocks work great in most recipes. A splash of balsamic or apple cider vinegar will add an alcohol-like zing to your dish.

Enquire about the amount of alcohol in restaurant food

When you eat out, ask the chef or staff of that particular restaurant to confirm if the food contains alcohol or not. This advice is not particular for pregnant women but also for people who want to avoid alcohol due to health or religious reasons. 

Which alcohol-containing foods should be avoided during pregnancy?

Having 2 or 3 dishes with a moderate or low alcohol content won’t be a threat to your baby’s health. The same goes for a one-off event of sipping alcohol. Some of the best heavier-on-booze dishes that should be avoided during pregnancy are given below.

Bananas Foster: Traditionally made banana foster contains rum flambé having up to 75% alcohol. Reduce the amount when you are making it yourself or ask the staff for keeping the rum content low when eating out.

Rum baba: These tiny cakes are soaked in rum syrup. Work with rum extract if you are making rum baba at home. When eating out, it is not likely to ask them to get your rum baba soaked in less rum.

Rum balls: Rum balls or truffles, do not involve any cooking so the amount of alcohol does not reduce in amount.

Crepes Suzette: The same flambé method is used to make bananas foster and Crepes Suzette. Reduce the amount of alcohol when making it yourself or ask the staff to do that for you when eating out.

Bombe Alaska: It is also called Baked Alaska. It is flambéed after topping it with hard liquor like rum or whiskey.

Other dishes that may contain high levels of alcohol include Cherries Jubilee, liqueur/Liqueur Chocolates, Sorbet with alcohol, alcohol flavored ice cream, marinated/preserved fruit, Alcoholic Affogato, Grasshopper pie, etc.

Pregnancy-safe dishes containing alcohol 

  1. Alcoholic sauces such as pasta (or penne) a la vodka
  2. Wine-based dishes such as marsala (usually chicken), cacciatore, Beef bourguignon, Coq au vin, Cioppino, any food braised in red or white wine, risotto, or any champagne sauces 
  3. Marinades 
  4. Food cooked with beer
  5. Meat cooked with hard liquor or spirits

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat Christmas pudding with alcohol when pregnant?”, and what type of foods should be avoided during pregnancy?

References

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.