Christmas Plum Pudding: The celebrations of Christmas feast of the Victorian Era was not complete without a sweet delight; a plum pudding.
The craze and popularity of the Plum Pudding were so much that even the writers and poets based their creations around the puddings,
The best example can be cited of ‘The Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, “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-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.”
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Plum Pudding Ingredients
Plum pudding caricatures the traditional Christmas celebrations of the 19th century. It was a basic recipe yet very famous recipe of that time.
comprising of mainly dried fruit, suet, egg, flour, and other basic ingredients. It was a gourmet’s delight.
Plum Pudding- History
It is very obvious to know that the Plum pudding derives its name from the very basic ingredient that is the dried Plum or prunes.
But gradually they began to be replaced by raisins in 16th and 17th century. As traditions go on the dishes made with raisins, retained the term plum as are still called as Plum Cakes and Plum Puddings.
Christmas pudding is said to be originated in the 14th century called ‘frumenty’ which was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines, and spices.
It was often taken as a fasting meal and soup during preparation for the Christmas festivities.
Slowly and gradually frumenty took the form of a plum pudding, with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and the addition of beer and spirits enhanced the flavors.
Around 1650 It became the customary Christmas dessert. In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding.
Old Customs Related To Christmas Plum Pudding
There is one famous custom attached to the plum pudding, that is, Putting a silver coin in the pudding which is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. traditionally a silver ‘sixpence’ coin was used in the U.K.
One of many superstitions that have surrounding Christmas Puddings says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honor of the Wise Men.
The decorative sprig of holly (that was thought to bring good luck and has healing power )was put on the top of the pudding is a reminder of Jesus’ Crown of Thorns that he wore when he was killed.
The big and rich houses during Victorian times, cooked pudding differently, sometimes in typical molds like the jelly ones.
They were sometimes also given the shapes of castles or towers or heart-shaped. Whereas the common people knew pudding only in the shape of balls. The heavy puddings were referred to as the cannonballs!
Victorian Christmas Plum Pudding Recipe
- Take well-stoned raisins, currants wash them thoroughly, approx one pound each;
- finely chop a pound of suet and mix with them;
- add a quarter of a pound of flour, or finely crumbled bread, three ounces of sugar, one ounce and a half of grated lemon zest, a blade of mace, half a small nutmeg, one teaspoonful of ginger, half a dozen eggs well beaten;
- work it well together, put it into a cloth, tie it firmly, allowing room to swell,
- boil not less than five hours.
- Decorate it and Voila! it is ready for savoring the delight.