Christmas Puddings – there is a constant love hate relationship for some of us, for our traditional festive pudding.
Have you made yours? Bought from a good organic supplier?
Stuffed ingredients together in a hurry? Or are you using one of your family traditional recipes?
Let’s take a little glimpse into when we first dug a spoon into the deep delight of festive fruitiness:
Christmas (Plum) pudding is the traditional delight served at the end of Christmas Day Dinner. It originated in medieval times. At first, a consistency like that of a bowl of porridge, with fruit added to a mixture of meat and mutton, with wines and spices added to flavour the mixture. This was eaten as a ‘fasting’ meal in preparation for the Christmas feasts. By the end of the 1500’s the recipe began to thicken, with more fruit and less meat added. Eggs and breadcrumbs were additional ingredients, and beer with spirits were poured into the mixture. It was a favourite customary dessert until 1714, when King George I established it as part of the Christmas meal. By Victorian times, the Christmas pudding recipes changed to those similarly made and bought today.
In early beginnings, beans were hidden into the puddings and whoever found the ‘bean’ were said to be visited by good crops that following year. Over the years, coins were introduced. The Penny Farthing, and then in Victorian times, the Threepenny Bit and then the Sixpence. Today, a Pound coin is placed into the pudding for ‘good luck’. Other tokens have been said to have been placed too – for instance, a ring. Can you imagine, biting into your pudding and finding a diamond ring!
It was said to have signified a marriage for the lucky single person finding it!
When mixing the ingredients of a Christmas Pudding, it is customary for each of the household to stir with a wooden spoon the mixture for good luck, and then to make a ‘wish’.
Entering the dining tables to a round of applause, the Christmas Pudding is usually served drenched in spirit and then set alight.
I understand there are so many people nowadays with a preference to purchase or make gluten free products, due to so many people struggling with allergies and intolerance, that this recipe of Jamie Oliver’s will have you returning with your bowl to say
“Please, may I have more?”
- 150 g currants
- 110 g sour cherries
- 100 g raisins
- 50 g chopped dates
- 1 lime , the grated zest and juice of
- ½ orange , the grated zest and juice of
- 50 g mixed peel
- 75 ml Assam tea , cold (or earl grey if you prefer)
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 ½ tbsp brandy
- 170 g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- ½ large cooking apple , grated
- 50 g toasted almonds , chopped
- 25 g rice flour
- 25 g cornflour
- 110 g fresh gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 110 g gluten-free suet
- 2 large free-range eggs , beaten
- 1 large free-range egg yolk , beaten
- butter , for greasing
- In a large bowl combine the dried fruits, zests and mixed peel, then add the citrus juice, cold tea, spices and brandy, and leave overnight for the flavours to develop.
- The following day, add the sugar, golden syrup, apple and almonds.
- In a clean bowl, place the rice flour, cornflour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, suet and a pinch of salt. Add in the beaten eggs until you have a smooth mix, then stir into the fruit.
- Grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin and pour in the pudding mixture until it’s ⅔ full. Cover the top with a circle of greaseproof paper, then with 2 pieces of foil and secure with string.
- Place an upturned saucer into the base of a deep saucepan. Sit the pudding on top of the saucer, and carefully pour in boiling water to come halfway up the pudding dish. Put the lid on and steam for 8 hours, topping up with water as needed – always keep it halfway up the basin.
- Once steamed, remove the pudding from the pan, carefully turn it upside down and lift off the basin. Decorate as you like and serve with brandy cream, custard or ice cream.
Wishing you a fabulously fruity festive time making and eating your Christmas Pudding!