We love Christmas Pudding

2nd November 2016 Recipes

Of course the clue is in the name but Christmas Pudding is the pudding traditionally served as part of the Christmas dinner here in Britain.

The Pudding has its origins in medieval England and is sometimes referred to as ‘plum pudding’, but despite this name, the pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word plums as a term for raisins. The recipe brings together what were expensive or luxurious ingredients but essentially a Christmas Pudding is traditionally made of many types of dried fruits held together by egg and suet, moistened with treacle or molasses and flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and other sweet spices that are so important in developing its distinctive rich aroma. It is very dark in appearance as a result of the dark sugars and black treacle in most recipes and its long cooking time. The pudding mixture can be moistened with the citrus fruit juice, brandy, rum and even dark beers such as stout or porter. The pudding is then aged for at least a month up to even a year, as the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling.

Traditionally puddings were made on or immediately after the Sunday before Advent, i.e. four to five weeks before Christmas which this year would be the 20th November. The day became known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’ and traditionally everyone in the household, or at least every child, gave the mixture a stir and made a wish while doing so. It was common practice to include small silver coins in the pudding mixture such as a silver threepence or a sixpence and the person finding the coin in their serving was believed to also find wealth in the coming year.

Many of you will have your own recipe for Christmas Pudding, some of which might have been handed down through your family for generations. But if you don’t have a favourite recipe of your own or if it is something that you have never made, we thought it would be a nice idea to share our Christmas Pudding recipe with you.

Once your Pudding is turned out of its basin, decorated with holly and doused in brandy or rum you can even flame or fire the pudding and bring it to the table ceremoniously as the Victorians would have done to great applause. Charles Dickens described the scene so wonderfully well in A Christmas Carol from 1843:

“Mrs Cratchit left the room alone, too nervous to bear witnesses, to take the pudding up and bring it in… Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper which smells like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry cook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs.Cratchit entered, flushed, but smiling proudly with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quarter of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top”.

Bea’s family Christmas Pudding Recipe

100g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
75g suet
350 g mixed dried fruit of your choice
100g soft brown sugar
½ lemon grated rind
2 eggs
2 tablespoons brandy

– Line a 2pt pudding basin
– Mix together dried ingredients
– Add eggs, brandy and mix well
– Place mixture in a prepared basin, cover with greaseproof paper and foil
– Steam for 8 hours. Allow to cool then stone in a cool dry place.
– When required steam for 2 hours before serving