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Christmas Pudding
A delectable Christmas Pudding will please even Scrooge. Photo by Gerry Lerner.
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December 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Desserts

Christmas Pudding Recipe

Oh, Bring Us A Figgy Pudding And A Cup Of Good Cheer

Page 1: Christmas Pudding History

 

CAPSULE REPORT: If you’ve enjoyed old English literature, you’ve read lots about Christmas pudding, plum pudding, suet and the like. Now, you can make one and enjoy your own merrie olde Christmas. This is Page 1 of a three-page article. Click on the black links to visit other pages.


Overview

If you recognize the headline above, from the popular English Christmas carol, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” you’ll know that the Christmas pudding has been celebrated in song since at least the 16th century. Thought to bring luck and prosperity to all those who share it, Christmas pudding is a longtime holiday tradition in London (as anyone who has read Dickens is aware). It is typically made five weeks before Christmas, on or after the Sunday before Advent, known in the Anglican church as Stirring Sunday, from these words in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer that became associated with the preparation of puddings for Christmas:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Also called plum pudding and figgy pudding, this dessert is a steamed cake—essentially a very wet, alcohol-soaked, boiled fruit cake. British recipes use fruits such as plums, figs and dates; Irish recipes vary the recipe with raisins, currants, sultanas and citrus peel. (Learn more about puddings.)

Making the Christmas pudding is a social occasion. Family and friends get together to Christmas Puddingcreate the dessert, each giving the mixture a stir, then making a wish, with the hope that good fortune will find them once the pudding is served on Christmas Day. The Christmas pudding is traditionally decorated with a spray of holly (which is not edible). In some homes, it is doused in flaming brandy and brought to the table in a darkened room.

A flamed Christmas pudding. Photo by James Scott Brown | Wikipedia Commons.

Sauce For The Pudding

A good pudding needs a good sauce, of course! Christmas pudding can be eaten with:

  • Brandy- or rum-flavored white sauce
  • Custard sauce
  • Hard sauce
  • Lemon sauce
  • Whipped cream

Or you can be very untraditional and serve your pudding with some vanilla ice cream (or for overkill, try rum raisin ice cream).

The steamed pudding trend hasn’t caught on in the U.S. (or at least, it hasn’t returned since it disappeared at the beginning of the 19th century), but we think it’s ripe for a comeback. This recipe is courtesy of Executive Chef Jeffery Baruch of London Lennies Seafood Restaurant, located in Rego Park, Queens, New York, where it’s served during the holiday season.

Continue To Page 2: Christmas Pudding Recipe

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