So what is Christmas Pudding? Well let your Christmas Fairy tell you, I'm talking about me by the way just to clarify. It is also know as Plum pudding and the trend for it began in Medieval England, along with leggings for men and girdles. The Roman Catholic Church decreed that pudding should be made on the 25th Sunday after Trinity (5 weeks before Christmas). That day was often known as 'Stir-up Sunday', a bit like how every Sunday now is called 'Fry-up Sunday' in my house. Oh how things have changed.
|My lovely Mum and I,|
please ignore how awful
Recipes for it go back to the 17th century and it can actually in a way be traced back to 1420, when it was used as a way of preserving meat at the end of the season. The main ancestor of the pudding was Pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction made in Roman Times. Plum pottage was a sloppy mix of meat, vegetables and fruit served at the beginning of a meal. I know, it sounds lovely doesn't it. In 1714 a.k.a King George I a.k.a The Pudding King requested that plum pudding should be served as part of the royal feast in his first Christmas as King. However, it was not until the 1830s that it became an actual Pudding that you wouldn't try and secretly feed to the dog. It was made of flour, fruits, suet, sugar and spices, with holly on top and it then became really associated with Christmas.
The rich pudding is boiled or steamed (That's where Grandma Second Hand Rose comes in) in a basin and used to be boiled in a pudding cloth. It is very dark, almost black and is saturated with Brandy, dark beer and sometimes other alcohols such as Rum. 'Saturated' is an understatement for our pudding. Since I am a veggi we do not put Guiness in it, but Mummy Second Hand Rose forgot that this year, so after draining the bottle as much as we could of barley wine, we may have accidentally put a teensy weensy bit loo much brandy in ie. at least umm 60ml. I think we may all be joining Alcoholic's anonymous after Christmas.
People used to put silver coins in the pudding (for wealth), tiny wishbones (for good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), a ring (for marriage) and an anchor ( for a safe harbour). Blimey that had to be one big Christmas pudding. Whoever got the charm kept it for luck, lets just hope no one broke their teeth on them. Through the years people just use to put a sixpence in there wrapped in foil. This stopped in the 80s due to the scare that Aluminium caused Alzheimer's. Now people sometimes wrap a penny up in tissue paper and put it in with the serving once they have cut the pudding up. The pudding is left in a cool dry place for weeks to let it mature and it tis then traditionally decorated with a sprig of holly. Pyromaniacs douse it in brandy and set it on fire, believe me it is a lot of fun but in my experience don't put too much brandy on, yeah that was an interesting Christmas.
Christmas Pudding is eaten with brandy butter, rum butter, hard sauce, cream, custard or caster sugar. But if you live in my house it is usually served with runny straw sucking custard. It seems that not that many people make them now, they can be bought in the shop and there are all these chefs trying to make their pudding be the best. Last year Heston Blumenthal Christmas Puddings flew off the shelves, Waitrose had to order emergency supplies and have had to again this year. Some even sold for £250 on eBay last year, what do people think it has in it, gold? They obviously haven't tasted Mummy Second Hand Rose's pudding.
Now the bit you have all been waiting for, the secret recipe. Actually we have knicked it off Delia and her famous cookery book. You can find the recipe here if you feel like trying it Delia's Traditional Christmas Pudding. We leave out the apple, the stout and the rum, but leave the rest of the ingredients in so it is a Delia adapted Mummy Second Hand Rose style Christmas Pudding made with love and lots and lots of brandy. Eat your heart out Heston.
Second Hand Rose