Monday, 11 December 2017
The Christmas Pudding
'There is no standard recipe for Christmas pudding, which has its origins in a medieval beef or mutton broth thickened with bread and enlivened by the addition of prunes and spices. Around 1495 the meat was dropped and a stiffer mixture called Christmas pie tended to be steamed in a pudding cloth, which resulted in the round pudding seen in comics and cartoons and now only sold in National Trust shops.
By the mid 19th century a basin began to replace the cloth, and the plum or figgy pudding, with added sugar, became Christmas pudding. The Queen's Christmas Pudding is made to a recipe based on one used in 1714 for George 1's first Christmas in England. He was known as the Pudding King and his contained suet as well as prunes, dates and glace cherries.
The custom of the cook inviting others to stir and make a wish may be an early 10th Century custom. The wooden spoon is said to represent the wood of the manger where Jesus was laid. Stirring should be from east to west, signifying the journey of the Magi. Another tradition suggests that the pudding should have 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles.'
Taken from 'Keeping Advent and Christmas' by Leigh Hatts.
Picture from www.Schwarz.co.uk
I usually buy my Christmas pudding from Sainsburys, our local supermarket. I like their recipe very much so I get two of them, one for Christmas and one to keep for Easter. The puddings keep well because they are loaded with good things, with spirits added! If you decide to make your own pudding, they are not difficult and everybody has their own favourite recipe. However, I have made them myself and I can't improve on the Sainsburys version, so I make it easy for myself and buy them. I usually do that - if I can't improve on what is bought, then buy it! especially now I am getting older and everything takes me longer to do.
When I was growing up, it was traditional to add a silver sixpence to the pudding (to crack your teeth on if you found it in your bowl!). That was supposed to bring good luck for the New Year (not the cracked teeth, but the finding of the coin). We don't have sixpences any more. The nearest thing to it would be a five pence piece, which looks silver, but isn't.
Our puddings are steamed and if there is any left over, I resteam them the next day. They are just as delicious the next day. Some people like them with fresh cream or brandy sauce and others like to put the newer squirty cream on theirs. I like fresh cream best. My ex mother-in-law also used to add a drift of caster sugar on hers!
This year I will be making a pumpkin pie too, to please my American husband, Larry. However, it is more likely to make its appearance on New Years Day because we will not need it at Christmas.
What will you be having for dessert on Christmas day?