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Christmas Puddings - Past and Present

How do you view the traditional Christmas Pudding? Are you a “Make it Yourself” person or a “Choose & Buy”? Perhaps you would prefer a lighter, alternative option?

The original was a 14th Century “porridge” called “Frumenty”, consisting of beef and mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices, mostly like soup and eaten as a fasting dish before the Christmas festivities.

Adding eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit, ales & spirits in 1595 changed it into “Plum Pudding”, although the Puritans in 1664 banned it as a “lewd custom”. George I re-established it in1714, whilst strongly opposed by Quakers.

In Victorian times, however, Christmas puddings looked quite similar to the Recipe given below:

OLD ENGLISH PLUM PUDDING

1 ¼ lb Raisins; ¾ lb Currants; ¾ lb Sultanas; 6 oz Peel; 2 oz Ground Almonds;

4 oz Breadcrumbs; ½ tsp. Grated Nutmeg; ½ lb Dark Brown Sugar; 4 Eggs;

½ lb Suet; Rind & juice of 1 Lemon; Brandy or Milk to mix; ½ lb Plain Flour;

¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon.

Chop the suet, raisins and peel; Grate the rind of 1 lemon, and add breadcrumbs. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs, and mix with lemon juice. Add this to the dry ingredients. Mix with a little brandy or milk. Leave this mixture to blend for 24 hours. Mix thoroughly again. Boil or steam for 7 hours.

Contributed by Justin Taylor. Posted: 1 Dec 2000