Christmas pudding history, traditions and facts, along with all about sterling silver Christmas pudding cash (or Christmas plum pudding if you prefer!). We’re fascinated by the origins of Christmas pud and Christmas pudding traditions – and particularly about the silver pudding coin put in them for luck. Given how amazingly famous our deluxe silver Christmas pudding coins for the festive season and it appears like the right time to do a complete rundown of Christmas pudding facts for you.
ABOUT CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Don’t know what Christmas pudding is? Well it is also referred to as plum pudding, is historically the most important dessert served with Christmas dinner in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, India and different countries, however, its origins are very much British.
Plum pudding is a very prosperous dessert which is boiled or steamed. It’s made of a heavy combination of dried fruit and nuts. Sometimes suet is included in the recipe, which is a combination of red meat or mutton fat, some thing which harks back to the savoury origins of the dish.
Traditional Christmas pudding is very darkish in colour and it’s regularly soaked with brandy or different alcohol, which is every now and then set alight when serving for greater drama.
It is frequently served with a sprig of holly on pinnacle and is eaten with brandy butter, rum butter, cream or custard.
ORIGINS OF PLUM PUDDING
The origins of Christmas pudding were nothing like the fruity and sweet dessert we have today.
Instead, the dish was a type of pottage (or porridge).
It tended to be a soupy and savoury dish made with beef, mutton, prunes, raisins, spices and wine. In poorer households sometimes a thick version of this dish was eaten to fill stomachs before a meagre serving of meat, including at Christmas.
The dish started to become more like the dessert we know now by the end of the 16th century as it became sweeter and was thickened into something like a pudding.
CHRISTMAS DESSERT IS BANNED
By the middle of the 17th century Christmas pudding had become the customary dessert as part of a Christmas meal. However, the Puritans in England attempted to ban it for a time from 1664 as they sought to turn Christmas from a feast day into a fast day.
It’s said that the Puritans considered Christmas pudding to be ‘sinfully rich’ and ‘unfit for God-fearing people’.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING BACK ON THE MENU
Christmas pudding was (thankfully) re-established as part of Christmas celebrations by the early 18th century, with one of the earliest recorded plum pudding recipes appearing in a cookbook by Mary Kettilby in 1714.
Rumour has it that King George I insisted that plum pudding be featured in his royal Christmas feast from this time which added to its popularity, although some criticised his choice for being too decadent, so it was still considered controversial.
VICTORIAN ERA CHRISTMAS PUDDING
A Christmas pudding recipe very similar to what we know it today was well established by the Victorian era.
At that time some wealthy households would have their puddings baked elaborate moulds shaped like towers or castles, while regular families would have the rounded ‘cannonball’ type of plum pudding most of us would now be familiar with.
Quick and Easy Xmas plum pudding: our quick and easy Christmas pudding recipe.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with their love of establishing and promoting Christmas traditions, helped to firmly establish Christmas pudding as an essential part of Christmas dinner, including with a ‘hard’ butter sauce (brandy butter or similar) and served with silver charms or Christmas pudding coins included in the pudding for good luck, something my own family still does every year.
MODERN CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS
Christmas puddings are now a traditional part of Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa, the tradition having been spread abroad by British colonists.
Today some families avoid making their own pudding as the traditional recipe requires an extended time to prepare it and the recipe is considered too difficult.
Pre-made Christmas puddings can be purchased (which you can still press Christmas coins into), such as this Maggie Beer Christmas Pudding or one from The Pudding Lady.
Alternatively, you could try making my family’s very quick and easy Christmas pudding recipe, which is a recipe from the Great Depression and is generally made on Christmas eve or Christmas day. It can even easily be made into a vegan recipe if needed as it’s egg free.
350g/12oz mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas)
100g/3½oz pitted ready-to-eat prunes, chopped or left whole
100g/3½oz dark muscovado sugar
4 tbsp dark rum
100ml/3½fl oz stout
100g/3½oz chopped walnuts
100g/3½oz blanched almonds
100g/3½oz ground almonds
100g/3½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
50g/1¾oz plain flour
100g/3½oz frozen butter, grated, plus a little extra for greasing
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
100g/3½oz chopped glacé cherries (or left whole if you prefer)
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
Combine the mixed fruit, prunes, muscovado sugar, rum and stout in a mixing bowl. Stir well to mix, cover and leave for 24 hours to soak.
After 24 hours, mix the walnuts, almonds, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, flour, butter, spices, cherries and eggs along with the soaked fruit mixture in a large mixing bowl, making sure you include all the soaking liquor from the soaked fruit. Mix well until completely combined (let all the members of the family have a stir and make a wish).
Cover with cling film and leave to stand in a cool place for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, grease a 1.2 litre/2-pint pudding basin with butter. Cut a circle of baking paper and place into the bottom of the pudding basin and then grease it with a little more butter.
Pack the pudding mixture into the pudding basin, pressing as you add it. Fold a pleat into the middle of a large piece of baking paper and place over the pudding.
Cover with a large piece of pleated foil, ensuring the pleats are on top of one another. Secure tightly with kitchen string tied under the lip of the pudding basin.
Place an upturned saucer into a large saucepan one-quarter full of water. Fold a long piece of foil into quarters lengthways to create a long strip and place the pudding basin in the middle of the strip.
Bring the sides of the strip up the sides of the pudding basin and lower into the saucepan. Ensure the water in the saucepan comes one-third of the way up the side of the pudding basin, but nowhere near the top of the basin. Leave the ends of the foil strip hanging over the side to make it easy to remove the pudding later.
Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 5-6 hours, topping up the water level as necessary throughout cooking (do not allow the pan to dry out).
Once the pudding is cooked, remove from the pan and set aside to cool. The pudding can be stored for up to two years in a cool, dry place.
To serve, reheat the pudding by steaming again (in the same way) for two hours, or until hot all the way through. Alternatively, remove the foil and reheat in the microwave.