The ‘traditional’ (by which I mean the suet-dense and fruit-heavy boiled style) is not suitable for all appetites and digestions, but luckily there is no shortage of ideas for alternatives.
For children, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW, Australia) of 27 November 1939 gave the following suggestion:
Nursery Christmas Pudding.
Take 1 oz ground rice, 6 oz. breadcrumbs, 3 oz. raisins, 4 oz. suet, 2 oz. sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls plum jam, milk, butter, 1 teaspoonful baking powder.
Mix together all the dry ingredients except the raisins. Stir in the jam, add the beaten eggs, finely chopped suet, and a little milk. Butter a mould, seed the raisins, and stick them in even rows in the mould. Pour the pudding in very gently. Cover with greased paper. Steam for two hours. Turn out and serve with custard sauce.
The same article also gave the following, although it gives no hints as to the type of condition for which it was considered suitable.
Special Diet Christmas Pudding.
Take 8 oz. coconut meal, 16 prunes (soaked and minced), 1 lb. seeded muscats (minced), 4 oz. raisins (2 oz. whole and 2 oz. chopped), 2 beaten egg-yolks, 4 oz. chopped walnuts and almonds (mixed), a very little grated orange and lemon rind, 3 dessertspoonfuls whisky (or more as desired).
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Add a little prune juice if the mixture seems too dry, but the mixture should be fairly stiff. This amount is sufficient for two medium-sized puddings. Steam in buttered basins for one hour. If liked, a teacupful of grated carrot can be added to this mixture. For a sweeter pudding, omit prunes.
The third recipe is from a feature on Invalid Christmas Recipes from The Queenslander (Brisbane, Australia) of 29 November 1928:
Six prunes, 6 almonds, juice of I lemon, des[s]ertspoonful sugar, ½ of a jelly square. Put prunes, after washing and soaking for 12 hours, into a pan with enough boiling syrup to cover them (made with the water la which the prunes were soaked, the lemon juice, and sugar melted together). Stew gently. When cooked leave till cold, then take out the stones and replace them with a blanched almond. Heat the prune juice and pour it hot over the jelly square. When dissolved, add the lemon juice, strain it over the prunes, and turn into a wet mould. Serve with cream.
:-) The second pudding is a gluten-free one! Before high-yield dward wheat existed, there were FEWER people with celiac disease, but they were still out there....
Hi Tess. I agree, there have likely always been some folks with gluten sensitivity, although as you say, it was not recognised as a clinical problem back then. Perhaps it was a diet for people with "dyspepsia"?
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