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Traditional Plum Christmas Pudding

Traditional Christmas Pudding
Mrs Beeton's Recipes for Plum Puddings

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

Mrs Beeton's Traditional Christmas Recipes - 4 Christmas Puddings

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Mrs Beeton's Christmas Pudding Recipes

Following on from the theme of Mrs Beeton, here are two of her Xmas Plum Pudding recipes from the 1923 edition of her famous book Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery, not to be confused with.  This edition features 5 Christmas puddings, and four Christmas plum pudding recipes are listed here, including one without suet for fruitarians as opposed to true vegetarians.  The full colour plate of puddings from the 1890s version is here. 

I usually make my plum pudding on stir-up Sunday at the end of November and I always add glace cherries and chopped dates too. In 2012, Stir-Up-Sunday is on November 25.

Mrs Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding 1

Recipe 1 (Page 494) - 1923 Edition

Makes 2 Christmas puddings

Picture of a Chrsitmas Plum pudding from Mrs Beetons 1890s edition

Ingredients

Basic Method

Check recipe for shopping/store cupboard purposes and grease 2 basins.

8 oz moist sugar (use soft brown )

8 oz chopped suet or modern day equivalent

8 oz sultanas cleaned

8 oz raisins halved and stoned (see footnote*)

4 oz currants washed and dried

4 oz shredded mixed candied peel - Cut your own or use ready cut

4 oz of plain flour

4 oz breadcrumbs

2 oz almonds blanched and shredded

the grated rind of a 1 lemon

3 eggs

a salt spoonful of  nutmeg grated

half a teaspoon of salt

quarter pint of milk

1 small wineglassful of brandy (optional)

 

Mix all the dry ingredients together, stir in the well beaten eggs, milk and brandy (if used).

Turn the mixture into 2 well greased basins, and steam from 5 to 6 hours.

Time 5 to 6 hours.

Sufficient for 8 or 9 persons.

N.B. Please note that no raising agent is mentioned in this recipe, but the flour must be plain flour, as elsewhere self raising flour is mentioned by type when used.

The Christmas pudding recipe above sounds very good to me.  So good, I shall be making one when I finish this page!   Reading through the recipes, one becomes aware they are each different.  The Christmas Plum Pudding Recipe 2 below sounds more economical and I notice is also nut free, which makes it perfect for those with nut allergies.   Recipe 1 also makes two puddings.  The book also has recipe 3 a rich pudding ( high fat content), recipe 4 an inexpensive pudding (more flour) and recipe 5 Fruitarian Xmas Pudding with a wider range of fruit and nuts and without suet.  But you can today buy vegetarian suet substitute for all the other recipes today.

Mrs Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding 2

Recipe 2 (Page 494) - 1923 Edition - Subtitled (Another Method)

Makes 1 pudding

Picture of a Chrsitmas Plum pudding from Mrs Beetons 1890s edition

Ingredients

Basic Method

Check recipe for shopping/store cupboard purposes and grease 1 basin.

5 oz breadcrumbs

4 oz of plain flour

4 oz chopped suet or modern day equivalent

4 oz currants

4 oz raisins

4 oz soft brown moist sugar

2 oz candied peel - Cut your own or use ready cut

2 oz raw grated carrot

1 teaspoon grated rind of  lemon

half salt spoon nutmeg grated

1 good teaspoonful baking powder

about quarter pint of milk

2 eggs

Mix all the dry ingredients together except the baking powder.

Add the beaten eggs and sufficient milk  to moisten the whole, then cover, and let the mixture stand for about an hour.

When ready stir in the baking powder, turn into a greased mould or basin, and boil for 6 hours or steam the plum pudding for about 7 hours. 

Serve with a suitable sauce. Time 6 to 7 hours.

Sufficient for 9 persons.

Mrs Beeton's Rich Plum Pudding

Here is the third Mrs Beeton Xmas Pudding recipe, described as rich.

Mrs Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding 3

Recipe 3 (Page 494/5) - 1923 Edition - Subtitled (Rich)

Makes 1 pudding for 8 or 9 persons

Picture of a Chrsitmas Plum pudding from Mrs Beetons 1890s edition

Ingredients

Basic Method

Check recipe for shopping/store cupboard purposes and grease 1 basin.

8 oz chopped suet or modern day equivalent

8 oz breadcrumbs

2 oz of plain flour

8 oz raisins

8 oz sultanas

4 oz currants

4 oz candied peel - Cut your own or use ready cut

half a grated nutmeg

half an ounce of mixed spice

half an ounce of ground cinnamon

1 gill of milk (about a quarter pint of milk)

1 wineglassful of rum or brandy (optional)

2 oz desiccated coconut or shredded almonds

1  lemon

4 eggs  pinch of salt

 

Exact method from the book.

Skin the suet or chop it finely. Clean the fruit,  stone the raisins, finely shred the mixed peel; peel and chop the lemon rind.

Put all the dry ingredients in a basin and mix well Add the milk, stir in the eggs one at a time, add the rum or brandy and the strained juice of a lemon.

Work the whole thoroughly for some minutes, so that the ingredients are all well blended.

Put the mixture in a well greased or floured pudding cloth.

Boil the plum pudding for 4 hours or steam for at least 5 hours.  Sufficient for 8 or 9 persons.

N.B

This recipe has no baking powder or sugar mentioned. 1 gill is a quarter pint or 5 fl oz or 150ml.

I have omitted Mrs Beeton Recipe 4, so that is why the next recipe is number 5.

Here is the Mrs Beeton Fruitarian recipe.

Mrs Beeton's Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding 5

Recipe 5 (Page 495) - 1923 Edition - Subtitled (Without Suet Fruitarian Pudding)

Sufficient for 2 medium sized puddings

Picture of a Chrsitmas Plum pudding from Mrs Beetons 1890s edition

Ingredients

Basic Method

Check recipe for shopping/store cupboard purposes and grease 2 basins ready. 

8 oz figs

8 oz breadcrumbs

8 oz stoned raisins

4 oz sultanas

4 oz currants

4 oz candied peel - Cut your own or use ready cut

8 oz peeled sweet almonds (blanched)

4oz pine kernels

4 oz shelled brazil nuts

4 oz butter

The grated rind of 1  lemon and the juice of 2 lemons

3 eggs

1 teaspoonful of whole spice

pinch of salt

4 oz of moist brown sugar

2 apples

4oz honey

Exact method from the book.

Mince the figs.

Peel, core and chop the apples.

Chop the almonds, pine kernels, and nuts.

Clean the fruit, and chop or shred the candied peel.

Put all the dry ingredients in a basin and add the honey and lemon juice.

Beat up the eggs, and stir in with the above.  When thoroughly mixed fill into one or two greased moulds, tie over with a greased cloth and boil the plum pudding for about 3 hours.

When done un-mould and serve the Christmas pudding with a suitable sauce or custard.

Time about 4 hours. Sufficient for 2 medium sized puddings.

N.B

This recipe has no flour.  With its figs this must be a figgy pudding too.

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Mrs Beeton's Coloured Food Plate

Here is a lovely 1890's Mrs Beeton's coloured food plate of Puddings. Picture enlarges.

Mrs Beeton's Food Plate of Puddings - 1890s

Picture of a food plate of puddings from Mrs Beetons 1890s edition

Dried Fruits - Raisins

In the past dried fruit came into port in large sacks, barrels or other containers.  Mrs Beeton wrote in an era when dried fruits were sold loose at a grocers and in the kitchen needed additional cleaning and picking over to remove grit and dirt or twig bits. Despite the fact that most dried fruit is pre-washed I still like to wash the fruit as it helps rehydrate it.

In many countries you can get very large dessert raisins mainly for eating as a raw lunchbox convenient snack - they are large grapes which may or may not have pip stones.  Today substitute normal raisins which are now mostly seedless and also pre-washed.  If you wish purchase extra large Muscat raisins if you want larger fruits. 

As a child I recall sugar also being loose weighed into blue bags, as bagging was done in the grocers from large containers. For many years, possibly until the 1990s Tate and Lyle continued to sell sugar in two layer bags. The inner bag was a deep blue 'sugar paper'. Many of you will be familiar with the colourful dry textured sugar paper from art and craft projects such as scrapbooking.

This piece of information below is courtesy of California Raisins.

"The Birth of California Raisin Country

18th century - Spanish missionaries in Mexico moved into California and helped farmers grow grapes for wine.

1851 - A marketable muscat for raisins, the Egyptian Muscat, was grown near San Diego. Since the area didn't have sufficient water supply, farmers moved to the San Joaquin (wah keen) Valley which has a mild climate and extensive irrigation system perfect for the art of viticulture.

1873 - Legend says California's first raisin crop was grown by nature, not farmers. A massive heat wave hit the valley before harvest, and most of the grapes dried on the vine before farmers could pick them.

1876 - Scottish immigrant William Thompson grew a seedless grape variety that was thin-skinned, seedless, sweet and tasty. Today 95 percent of California raisins are made from Thompson seedless grapes.

Late 1800s - Armenians descended from the first founders of vineyards in Persia began settling in the San Joaquin Valley. The area now supplies raisins for nearly half the world, making it the largest producer anywhere."

In 2012, Stir-Up-Sunday is on November 25.

Page Added October 2006. Updated Nov 2009.

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See Topics Below for More Ideas on Christmas Traditions, Customs, and Recipes

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Christmas Crafts

Seasonal Humour

Christmas Traditions

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