Plum Pudding

Christmas Pudding (by Matt Riggott frm Edinburgh, Scotland)
Christmas Pudding (by Matt Riggott frm Edinburgh, Scotland)

Plum Pudding is a traditional boiled pudding heavy with suet, dried fruit, and nuts. It is a dessert that is traditionally served on Christmas Day in England. The original recipes begin to appear in the 17th century and later. Its final form can be traced to Victorian England, but plum puddings origins can be traced back as far as the 1420’s. It began as a means of preserving meat. The chief ancestor is the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction, which originated in Roman times. At that time it was a dish of preserved meat, thickened with bread and full of currants.

A Sussex Recipe for Christmas Pudding

 

Ingredients

To make two 1-pint (0.56 litres) puddings (remember: use the same measurements throughout (imperial or metric))

½ pound (lb) (225g) raisins

¾ lb (340g) currants

½ lb (225g) sultanas

½ lb (225g) sugar (or less)

¾ lb (340g) shredded suet (can be vegetarian; see note below)

½ lb (225g) breadcrumbs

¼ lb (110g) crystallised peel

2 teaspoons (tsp) cinnamon

2 oz (55g) almonds (chopped, but not too small)

1/3 cup (about 60g) flour

1/3 pint (about 190ml) milk

3 large eggs (beaten)

Brandy

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

1/3 of a nutmeg

Procedure

1.Mix and stir well.

2.Place in pudding basins, and cover with cloths or buttered greaseproof paper, tied tightly in place with string.

3.Steam for 7 hours and keep till Christmas day.

4.To prepare for serving, steam for 2 hours. Times can be reduced by using a pressure cooker

Notes

Suet can be difficult to find in some countries, e.g. the USA. Butter is an excellent substitute. To incorporate the butter in the mixture, melt it in a microwave or saucepan, and pour into your mixing bowl.

It was common practice to include small silver coins in the pudding mixture, which could be kept by the person whose serving included them. The usual choice was a silver 3d piece (the threepence), or a sixpence. However this practice fell away once real silver coins were not available, as it was believed that alloy coins would taint the pudding.

Once turned out of its basin, the Christmas pudding is traditionally decorated with a spray of holly, then dowsed in brandy, flamed, and brought to the table ceremonially – where it should be greeted with a round of applause. It is best eaten with brandy butter, cream (lemon cream is excellent) or custard. Christmas puddings have very good keeping properties and many families keep one back from Christmas to be eaten at another celebration later in the year.

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