Christmas Pudding is a dark, sticky, and dense sponge, more like a fruitcake, made of mixed dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, and citrus zests. Brandy and spices provide a deep, complex flavour and signature dark colour to these appetizing and mouth watering Puddings.
Traditionally, the pudding is made on stir Sunday. That’s about five weeks before Christmas, or the last Sunday before Christmas season of Advent. While some say the traditional Christmas pudding is no longer as popular, because many people now prefer a lighter & healthier dessert, that’s not necessarily true!
When we’ll dig deeper into history of Christmas Puddings, then it used to be a soup like porridge called “frumenty” that was made of beef and mutton, along with pranes, raisins, wines and spices. It was eaten as a fasting meal in the 14th century as people prepared for Christmas festivities.
Over the next few centuries, frumenty was thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs and dried fruits with people adding flavour by chucking in beer and spirits. By 1650 it had become the traditional Christmas pudding.
According to old tradition, there should be 13 ingredients in a Christmas pudding which are:
4. Brown sugar
5. Bread crumbs
7. Lemon peel
8. Orange peel
10. Mixed spices
12. Milk, and
People also put silver coins into Christmas Puddings as it is said to bring luck to the people who finds it. Traditionally a silver sixpence was used but the closest coin to that nowadays is a five pence piece. Other items also known as tokens or flavours that can be placed in a Christmas pudding includes,
1. A wishbone: – The finder will have good luck!
2. Bachelor’s button: – If found by a single man, he will be single for the next year!
3. A ring: – The finder will get married or become rich in the next year!
4. Old maid’s Thimble: – If found by a single woman, she will be single for the next year!
5. An anchor charm: – The finder will have a safe year with the charm protecting them from danger!
The Puritans banned Christmas Puddings in 1664, as they were trying to turn Christmas into a fast day. They described the dessert as ” Sinfully rich” and ” unfit for God fearing people”, Fortunately, king George I brought them back in 1714, as he had tasted and enjoyed plum pudding.
There are so many superstitions surrounding Christmas Puddings. One says that it should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples- and every member of the family should take turns stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the wise men.
Brandy or another form of alcohol is sometimes poured over Christmas Puddings and lit at the table as a display. This represents Jesus’ love and Power. Because nothing says, “Jesus” like lighting on fire. Rich Victoria’s often cooked their Christmas Puddings in fancy moulds. They were often in the shape of towers or castles. Normal people had to make it with traditional spherical shape.
From Around The World
Mediterranean cooks make sweet, rich rice puddings using whole or ground rice flavoured with cinnamon stick, lemon peel, orange blossom, honey, pistachio, almonds or hazelnuts. Turkish fried semolina pudding, a pale brown, rich, soft pudding with pine nuts and vanilla; and Tunisian couscous pudding made from semolina, nuts, dates, rose water, seasonal fruits, pomegranate seeds and black raisins.
Indian sweet, rich, creamy puddings may be chilled or hot — cream, rice, tapioca, milk, vermicelli and carrot bases are flavoured with ghee, nuts, rose petals, kewra essence, golden raisins and green cardamom. Halwa pudding contains grated carrots cooked in milk until tender, with ghee, cashews, golden raisins, sweetened condensed milk, cardamom and nutmeg. Milk-based payasams contain semolina, green split peas or vermicelli, flavoured with spices and nuts and thickened with tapioca flour or almond paste.
In Southeast Asia, puddings include: Babur pulot hitam, a sweet, chewy, sticky, black rice pudding from Malaysia; Cambodia’s corn pudding; Indonesia’s steamed green-coloured coconut and egg pudding; Burma’s creamy sago pudding; and Philippines’ sweet fruit and yam pudding.
There are generally five major types ways to prepare Puddings; boiled, baked, steamed and chilled in the refrigerator until it gels. Some recipes can be prepared by either one method or another through a combination of methods.
Some modern day Puddings include;
1. Raspberry and chocolate sourcing pudding
2. Maple spiced rice pudding with poached winter fruits
3. Tapioca pudding with mango vanilla Ice cream and lime syrup.
4. Banana pudding etc.
In this season of festivities where no celebration is complete without traditional delicacies, puddings are a must have. Over the year many twists have been given to classic Christmas menu, but there’s a saying ” Old is gold”. There might be new recipes with new flavours and tastes but the old and traditional Christmas Puddings can still win the hearts.
in short, Christmas is incomplete without these tempting and ravishing Christmas Pudding.