Christmas pudding is sometimes known as plum pudding, although recipes don’t call for plums. In pre-Victorian times, raisins were called plums, and later other dried fruits. Christmas puddings with high alcohol content were often aged for weeks or even months. A sauce was usually poured over the pudding prior to serving.
INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:
CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING
• 2 cups ground suet
• 2 cups bread crumbs
• 2 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons Dr. Price’s Baking Powder
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups seeded raisins
• 2 cups currants
• 1 cup finely cut citron
• 1 cup finely cut figs
• 1 tablespoon finely cut orange peel
• 1 tablespoon finely cut lemon peel
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon ground mace
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 cup water or prune juice
• 1 cup grape or other fruit juice
Mix thoroughly all dry ingredients and add fruit. Stir in water and fruit juice and mix thoroughly. Add more water if necessary to make a stiff dough. Fill greased molds ⅔ full, and steam five or six hours. This pudding should be prepared and cooked a week or more before used. Before serving, steam one hour and serve with hard, lemon or foamy sauce.
REAL CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Toast a pint of fine breadcrumbs to a good brown without burning. Pour on them half a cup of strong, clear black coffee, and let stand till soft. Beat six egg-yolks very light with two cups of sugar and one of creamed butter. Add the soaked crumbs and mix very smooth. Meantime, soak a cup of raisins, seeded and halved, a cup of clean currants, a cup of shredded citron, and a cup of nut meats broken small, in a tumbler of sherry, a tumbler of rum, and wineglass of apricot brandy. When well soaked, add the fruit to the eggs and sugar. Mix in gradually a teaspoon of cinnamon, the same of cloves and allspice, half a cup of preserved ginger sliced very thin, and a dusting of black pepper and paprika. Beat smooth, then fold in six stiffly beaten egg-whites, alternately with a cup of browned flour. If too thick to stir handily, thin with a little milk or boiling water. Pour into a clean pudding bag, freshly scalded, leaving room for the pudding to swell. Put in a deep kettle of boiling water and boil for five hours, filling up the kettle with more boiling water as needed. Make several days beforehand, and boil an extra hour upon Christmas day. Serve in a blaze of brandy, with a very rich sauce, either fruit or wine flavored.
A PLUM PUDDING
3 dozen eggs.
3 pounds baker’s bread, stale, and grated fine.
3 pounds suet.
3 pounds brown sugar.
1 pound sliced citron.
3 pounds currants.
4 pounds seeded raisins.
1⁄2 ounce nutmeg, and the same of mace, cloves, and cinnamon.
Half pint wine.
Half pint French cooking brandy.
Mix and divide into six parts. Tie each part in a twilled cotton cloth, put them in boiling water, and let them boil four hours. Then hang them in the air to dry a day or two. Keep them in a cool, dry place. When you wish to use one, it must be boiled an hour before dinner. Serve with a rich sauce. It will keep six months or a year.
POOR MAN’S PLUM PUDDING
One loaf of baker’s stale bread
One cup stoned raisins
One cup currants, washed and picked
One cup molasses
One tablespoon butter
One-half teaspoon powdered cloves
One grated nutmeg
Slice the bread very thin and pour on it a little boiling water. Cover it closely and let it stand until it softens. Then mash very smooth, add the molasses, fruit, spices, and butter. Mix well and boil in a pudding cloth for an hour. Serve with an old-fashioned hot brown sugar sauce.
• ⅓ cup butter
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• ½ teaspoon flavoring extract
Cream butter until very light. Add sugar very slowly, beating until light and creamy. Add flavoring and beat again.
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 tablespoons boiling water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream butter and add sugar slowly, beating continually. Beat egg yolks until thick and add gradually. Beat well, then add stiffly beaten egg whites, flavoring, and water. Before serving, heat over boiling water five minutes, stirring constantly.
LEMON OR ORANGE SAUCE
• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
Boil water, sugar and cornstarch mixed with little cold water. Boil 5 minutes, add fruit juice, and 1 tablespoon caramel if a dark color is desired.
Have you ever eaten Christmas Plum Pudding?