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Traditional Plum Pudding

About Traditional Plum Pudding

Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding (because of the abundance of prunes), originated in England. It is traditionally made five weeks before Christmas, on or after the Sunday before Advent. On Christmas Day, the pudding is re-steamed for between 2 to 4 hours, depending on its size and is served hot for dessert.

Traditional Plum Pudding

  • In 1595, the recipe finally developed into plum pudding. Inspiration for the Christmas Pudding came from the Middle Age's mince pies, and porridge from the 14th century.
  • In 1644, the English Parliament outlawed the holiday, compelling shops to be open that day, and condemning plum puddings and mince pies as "heathen."
  • In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

There are many traditions associated with Christmas or Plum pudding, including:

  • It should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples.
  • A sprig of holly is often used to decorate the top of the pudding to represent the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross.
  • Many households stirred silver coins (for wealth), tiny wishbones (for good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), a ring (for marriage), or an anchor (for safe harbor) into the mixture, and when served, whoever got the lucky serving, would be able to keep the charm.

The merriment and happiness that surrounds the serving of Plum Pudding more than makes up for its non-nutritious aspects; we're not even "going there".

Time Honored Plum Pudding Recipes

An old recipe for plum pudding from A Poetical Cookbook (1864) by Maria J. Moss:

One quarter of a pound of beef suet; take out the strings and skin; chop it to appear like butter; stone one pound of raisins, one pound of currants, well washed, dried, and floured, one pound loaf sugar, rolled and sifted, one pound of flour, eight eggs well beaten; beat all well together for some time, then add by degrees two glasses of brandy, one wine, one rose-water, citron, nutmeg, and cinnamon; beat it all extremely well together, tie it in a floured cloth very tight, let it boil four hours constantly; let your sauce be a quarter pound of butter, beat to a cream, a quarter pound loaf sugar pounded and sifted; beat in the butter with a little wine and sugar and nutmeg.

And an old recipe for English Plum Pudding from The Whitehouse Cookbook, 1887:

Soak one pound of stale bread in a pint of hot milk and let it stand and cool. When cold, add to it one-half pound of sugar and the yolks of eight eggs beaten to a cream, one pound of raisins, stoned and floured, one pound of Zante currants, washed and floured, a quarter of a pound of citron cut in slips and dredged with flour, one pound of beef suet, chopped fine and salted, one glass of wine, one glass of brandy, one nutmeg and a tablespoonful of mace, cinnamon and cloves mixed; beat the whole well together and, as the last thing, add the whites of the eight eggs, beaten to a stiff froth; pour into a cloth, previously scalded and dredged with flour, tie it firmly, leaving room for the pudding to swell and boil six hours. Serve with wine or brandy sauce. It is best to prepare the ingredients the day before and cover closely.

PS. National Plum Pudding Day is February 12.

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