Traditional Christmas PuddingCourse: All Recipes, Dessert, FoodDifficulty: Medium
In Victorian England times were tough and the average pocket book was stretched beyond it’s means. The industrial age was in full swing and the working class toiled up to 18 hours a day for little pay. Pollution was extreme and areas of London were choking in thick smog. Work houses were common place for women and children and people were dying at an alarming rate, while crime was at an all time high. London was a mix of the poor and destitute, middle class and those who lived like Royalty. Puddings in general were popular and an inexpensive way to feed a family by combining minimal amounts of ingredients into a suet base and steaming them to perfection. The Christmas Pudding or Plum Pudding however, had achieved a lofty place and was more often served to those of means as the ingredients were expensive and extravagant.
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 pound ground suet (substitute w/vegetable shortening or butter)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cider or apple juice
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup seedless raisins
1 1/2 cup dried currants
2 cups mixed cut-up dried fruit of your choice
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds (can be omitted)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (substitute with spelt flour – gluten free flour does not work well)
1 cup soft day-old bread crumbs
- Sift together first 6 ingredients.
- Mix fat (suet/shortening/butter), sugar, milk and cider; add eggs.
- Mix raisins, currants, fruit and nuts with 1/4 cup flour.
- Add with crumbs and flour mixture to fat mixture. Mix well.
- Turn into greased and floured 2 quart pudding mold or 2 1-pound coffee cans or pack into triple layer of cheesecloth and form into a ball tying of the top with string.
- Cover cooking vessel with a double thicknesses of wax paper, allowing space for pudding to rise, and tie tightly. Place on rack in a large pot or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid.
- Pour in enough boiling water to come half way up on one side of mold.
- Cover pot allow to simmer and steam 2 1/2 hours adding water to pot as required.
- For greater depth to a pudding make it several months ahead of time and pop it into the freezer. Every few weeks remove from the freezer and while still frozen as a 1/4 cup of rum, brandy, apple cider or apple juice to the pudding and return to the freezer. By the holidays you should have a good dose of Holiday cheer when slicing into the pudding. You can resteam the pudding before serving.