It is definitely time to start ramping up the Christmas recipe offerings, so with no further ado, I give you three quite different puddings.
Firstly, from The Cook and Houswife’s Manual (8th edn. Edinburgh, 1847) by Christian Isobel Johnstone (aka the pseudonymous Mistress Margaret Dods)
The Trinity Christmas Pudding.
Three pounds raisins, half Muscatel and half Valentia, three pounds currants, three pounds beef suet chopped very fine, sixty eggs, a pint and a half of milk, three pounds best raw sugar, the rind of six lemons minced very small, four pounds of fine flour, a half-pound treacle, four nutmegs grated, and cinnamon and cloves pounded to taste; one large table-spoonful of salt, two wine-glasses of brandy, two of rum, one of Port; of sliced candied orange and lemon-peel a half-ounce each, citron-peel a half-ounce. The whole must be thoroughly well mixed early on the 24th December, and boiled for ten hours on Christmas Eve, and four hours on Christmas Day, or from leaving chapel till dinner-time, taking care the whole time to keep the boiler filled with boiling water, and the fire strong and constant. Farther, in preparing for the boiler, the cloth, first scalded, afterwards squeezed, is put on the dresser and well dredged with flour, and then placed very evenly over a colander, so that it shall be in the middle of it. The pudding is then put into the cloth, being well stirred up, a person plaiting the cloth so that it shall be evenly taken up that no water shall get into it. It must then be excessively well tied up, allowing some room for the pudding swelling, and boiled. The Christmas Pudding should be served up with a sprig of arbutus stuck in the middle, with one of its red berries, and a sprig of variegated holly with one or two berries on each side of it. This is to keep away the witches.
And for something completely different, I give you a suet pudding made with maize.
Farmers’Own Christmas Pudding.
Indian meal (northern, yellow best), 3 lbs.; beef suet (skinned and chopped fine) 1 lb.; dried currants, 1 lb.; saleratus, 1 teaspoonful. Mix these ingredients (dry); then add 1 ½ pints of molasses, and boiling water, stirring continually, until the whole is of the consistency of hot mush. Do this at night On the next day boil the pudding in a bag for 4 or 5 hours. Water must be boiling hard when pudding is put in.
Sauce for above: Take 1 pint of molasses, 1 table-spoonful of butter, table-spoonful of brown sugar, teaspoon heaping full of ground cinnamon. Boil for nearly an hour; then pour on the sauce a wine-glassful of brandy.
Working Farmer, Vol. 16 (1864)
And to make up the trinity, a British wartime pudding:-
Dates in Christmas Puddings.
We are using dates as far as possible in our puddings to replace raisins, and also in mince-meat, as the supply of raisins in the country appears to be getting low. We have a cheap recipe for a war Christmas pudding, in which we use dates. To make a 4lb. pudding the ingredients are: ½ lb suet or dripping, ½ lb flour, ½ lb breadcrumbs, ½ lb dates, 1 lb carrots, ½ lb currants, 4 oz mixed peel, grated rind of lemon, 4 oz sugare, one egg, and spice to taste. Figs are not much used to replace raisins as the seeds give away the substitution.
The Times, [London] Wednesday, Dec 08, 1915.
I made a Christmas pudding this year for the first time ever. My husband told me it had to have holly on top but he didn't know why. Now I know. Thanks!
I like how the holly is not a seasonal decoration, but to "keep away the witches."
Hello everyone, and my apologies for the late repy. I love the witches explanation too! And Shay, sixty eggs does sound rather a lot, but families were a lot bigger back then!
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