Many countries around the world have that special dish or dessert served almost exclusively during the holiday season.¬† For instance, in the U.S. we have turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc for Thanksgiving.¬† During Christmastime in Hungary, a popular dish called Chicken Paprikash is served along with root vegetables, and sp√§tzle or dumplings.
For hundreds of years, Christmas dinner in England has consisted of glazed ham or roast turkey, potatoes, parsnips, other vegetables with a Christmas pudding for dessert. ¬†The pudding is served after it is doused in brandy and flamb√©ed.¬† Such an impression it makes on dinner guests, Charles Dickens even wrote about it in A Christmas Carol:
“Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry cook‚Äôs next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. Oh, a wonderful pudding.”
Today, I share with you a very old recipe for Traditional Christmas Pudding.¬† It should be made at least a week prior to serving, to improve flavor and texture.
- 8 oz shredded beef suet (can be found at your local butcher‚Äôs)
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 8 oz flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¬Ω tsp grated nutmeg
- ¬Ω tsp cinnamon
- 1 ¬º lbs brown sugar
- 4 oz ground almonds
- 1 ¬º lbs currants, raisins and currants
- 6 oz prunes, chopped
- 2 oz candied citrus peel, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs
- 5 oz dark rum
- ¬Ω pint stout beer
PLEASE NOTE: This recipe requires the use of high-proof alcohol and an open flame. Use caution!
In a large mixing bowl, sift baking powder and flour together. Add spices, brown sugar, almonds, suet and breadcrumbs to bowl and mix together.
Add fruits, peel and zest to mixture and mix well.
In separate bowl, beat eggs and add into mixture.¬† Add lemon/orange juice, rum and beer and stir vigorously until properly mixed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one week.
Pour the mixture into a pudding basin and cover with parchment or foil, leaving room at the top for the pudding to rise.¬† Tie the parchment at the top.
Steam over boiling water for at least 6 hours; make sure to keep adding water.
Remove parchment or foil and rewrap.¬† Store in a cool place until ready to serve.
When Christmas Day comes, an additional 2 hours of steaming will be needed.¬† Pour brandy over the top, light and serve.
Find a cheap flight to London to experience a traditional Christmas pudding this holiday season.¬† If you can‚Äôt make to the U.K. for the holidays, I hope you enjoy this recipe at home.