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View Full Version : One of my Favourite things - putting the Christmas Pudding On


MrAstro
11-16-2013, 06:35 PM
Every year about this time I make the Christmas Pudding Mix, dump the mixture including overly generous glugs of brandy into a floured pudding cloth. You tie the pudding up with strong string (I use nylon multi braided stuff these days)...

I boil up an ancient copper (originally used pre war for boiling washing) and boil the pudding for about 7 hours. You hang the pudding for over a month and then boil it for another 2 hours before removing the cloth.

Best bit of the process is testing the mix :)

Our family has been doing this as far as I know since about WW1 and maybe longer that I don't know about.

Just thought I'd share that - I always get excited about making the pudding for some reason :aok :banana

67mike
11-16-2013, 06:52 PM
What is in this pudding?

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 06:56 PM
What is in this pudding?

Heaven.

The best thing about Christmas, IMO. :drool

My aunt makes ours every year (or there is hell to pay!). Family recipe that goes back 4 or 5 generations. Nothing different or unusual about ours, but it's home-made with care and attention a couple of months before the big day, and that makes all the difference. I'm starting to drool now....

Glowing Tubes
11-16-2013, 06:57 PM
Yeah, can you give a better description of this? I've never heard of this "pudding"

ShavenYak
11-16-2013, 06:59 PM
Sounds like way too much trouble. But then again I'm too lazy to make instant pudding. Pudding cups for me.

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 07:01 PM
Do you not have Christmas pudding in America?

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p69/chrisscarlett/christmaspudding_zps81eccf5d.jpg

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 07:06 PM
What is in this pudding?

Yeah, can you give a better description of this? I've never heard of this "pudding"

Sounds like way too much trouble. But then again I'm too lazy to make instant pudding. Pudding cups for me.

OK - here's the 'secret' family recipe - enjoy!

1/2 pound plain flour
1/2 pound stale breadcrumbs (real bread - not the dry packet mix..
pinch of salt
1 pound butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 pound currants
1 pound sultanas
1/2 pound citron peel
1/2 pound raisins
9 eggs
1 gill brandy (1/4 pint)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 pound glace cherries
1 level dspsn mixed spice
1 level tsp bicarb of soda

Cream the butter and sugar, add well beaten eggs and brandy. Stir all fruit in well. Add breadcrumbs, salt, sifted flour, bicarb of soda, grated nutmeg and mixed spice.

Mix all ingredients together well.
Tie up in a very strong pudding cloth (linen), allowing room for it to swell (I actually tie the pudding cloth fairly tight over the ingredients - i.e. don't let the cloth be too loose)).. Place in a copper of boiling water and cook for 6 hours on the day that is made and 3 hours on the day it is to be served.

Extra hints from me... Flour the cloth and use butter wrappers before dumping the mix onto the cloth. Shape the pudding in a large bowl and place some baking paper on the top before tying the pudding up). Use strong nylon cord to tie pudding using multiple wraps of cord to make the pudding fairly tight in the cloth - but not too tight....

I found a picture of a cloth boiled pudding - looks something like this:

http://www.thecultureconcept.com/circle/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/pudding.jpg

Some people do them in a basin - they look a bit more like MadFrank's picture.

You can tell it's a pretty old recipe - it was weird typing it with pounds, furlongs on fathoms because we are metric these days :-)

Frankee
11-16-2013, 07:10 PM
Do you not have Christmas pudding in America?



You mean fruitcake?

popinvasion
11-16-2013, 07:11 PM
Never had or heard of it. What makes it pudding? Sounds like an aged cake??

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 07:16 PM
You mean fruitcake?

No, that's Christmas Cake.

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 07:20 PM
Yeah MadFrank is spot on.

Fruit Cakes are baked.

Christmas Puddings are boiled.

Frankee
11-16-2013, 07:20 PM
No, that's Christmas Cake.

Let me guess......

It looks like pudding? Right?

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 07:25 PM
Let me guess......

It looks like pudding? Right?

Well it looks rather cake-like actually - but it's a lot moister than a cake and more dense.

A lot of people would eat it with hot custard or brandy custard. Ice cream is also optional.

Personally outside Christmas day it is absolutely amazing having a slice with a cup of tea. It is rich moist and delicious.

amigo30
11-16-2013, 07:28 PM
I like you Brits. Your recipes make sense.

None of that 2ml or 9.8 grams nonsense. I'm sure that makes the pudding taste better.

spyeman
11-16-2013, 08:40 PM
You are wasting your time trying to educate these uncouth Yanks. They have never tasted the miracle of Spotted Dick, or Treacle Tarts, or the wonderful Christmas pud covered in Birds custard...........they know not of these delights.......

Jesus freak
11-16-2013, 09:03 PM
Do you not have Christmas pudding in America?

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p69/chrisscarlett/christmaspudding_zps81eccf5d.jpg

This is new to me, but it looks delicious.

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 09:32 PM
This is new to me, but it looks delicious.

Part of the recipe is that you soak it in brandy over a period of time while it matures. You don't drown it, but a dram of brandy once a week for a month or two is the norm. Traditionally, some cooks like to start the pudding in January for the following Christmas, but a good month is fine for most.

When it is served, you heat up a small amount of brandy, then pour over the pud and set it alight. It goes up in flames for a few seconds and everyone 'Oooh's and Ahh's'. It's just for show and tradition really. The proof is in the pudding!

In England, another tradition was to put a coin in the pudding. Something that a lucky child would get in their bowl. I think 'Elf and Safety' kinda nix that idea nowadays. Besides it's dirty and kids now don't see it as any big whoop to get a pound coin covered in custard anyway.

VCuomo
11-16-2013, 09:37 PM
In the USA, when someone says "pudding" something like this is what most people are referring to:


http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcStIQLMeAtGgqOHY7pEGmhl1axgqDLbd 0pk10pgmzSiEIoTbGPH

Your confection looks delicious and is similar to what we call "fruitcake", which is baked instead of boiled:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414BC3N6taL._SX270_.jpg

2leod
11-16-2013, 09:42 PM
We had some sticky toffee pudding a few weeks ago, very rich but delicious!

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 09:46 PM
Part of the recipe is that you soak it in brandy over a period of time while it matures. You don't drown it, but a dram of brandy once a week for a month or two is the norm. Traditionally, some cooks like to start the pudding in January for the following Christmas, but a good month is fine for most.

When it is served, you heat up a small amount of brandy, then pour over the pud and set it alight. It goes up in flames for a few seconds and everyone 'Oooh's and Ahh's'. It's just for show and tradition really. The proof is in the pudding!

In England, another tradition was to put a coin in the pudding. Something that a lucky child would get in their bowl. I think 'Elf and Safety' kinda nix that idea nowadays. Besides it's dirty and kids now don't see it as any big whoop to get a pound coin covered in custard anyway.

Absolutely! I should have mentioned that we pour some brandy over it when it comes out of the cloth. I know you can set it alight - but we don't bother. It just soaks into the pudding and makes it even more lethal :-)

When I was kid my mum and dad baked sixpences in it - whoever got one supposedly won and had good luck. You had to be careful you didn't bite one by mistake or swallow them :-)

They were Australian sixpences - pre-decimal currency ie. pre 1966. I was a little kid in the 70's so they must have saved the sixpences especially for the pudding. The post decimal sixpence in Australia was the 5 cent piece - about the same size - but obviously doesn't have the same tradition about it...

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 09:48 PM
I think pudding used to refer to something you would make in a bowl. Specifically a 'Pudding Bowl', and was a mixture. And that wasn't confined to a sweet or non-meat dish either, for example 'Black Pudding, which is very much not a desert (but also delicious!).

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 09:53 PM
In the USA, when someone says "pudding" something like this is what most people are referring to:


http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcStIQLMeAtGgqOHY7pEGmhl1axgqDLbd 0pk10pgmzSiEIoTbGPH

Your confection looks delicious and is similar to what we call "fruitcake", which is baked instead of boiled:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414BC3N6taL._SX270_.jpg

We also have fruitcake and would also call chocolate mousse "pudding" in the sense that it is a desert and pudding and desert can mean the same thing if you want.

There is actually a whole shed load of boiled/steamed pudding recipes out there and Christmas Pudding is just the best known type. Many boiled/steam puddings have nothing to do with Christmas. A lot of them are born out of a tradition of cooking for people who didn't have ready access to an oven and boiling/steaming was an easy and cheap way of cooking. Recently I made a nice steamed pudding in a pudding steamer that used cumquats and honey to infuse it.

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 09:53 PM
Absolutely! I should have mentioned that we pour some brandy over it when it comes out of the cloth. I know you can set it alight - but we don't bother. It just soaks into the pudding and makes it even more lethal :-)

When I was kid my mum and dad baked sixpences in it - whoever got one supposedly won and had good luck. You had to be careful you didn't bite one by mistake or swallow them :-)

They were Australian sixpences - pre-decimal currency ie. pre 1966. I was a little kid in the 70's so they must have saved the sixpences especially for the pudding. The post decimal sixpence in Australia was the 5 cent piece - about the same size - but obviously doesn't have the same tradition about it...

Sixpence -yes! My mum tells that was what they would put in hers in the 50's and 60's. Also pre-decimalisation. I can remember 50p coins in ours, probibally because they were the biggest coin and we were less likely to choke on one. I think choking on pudding coins used to account for a lot of hospital admissions on Christmas day!

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 09:58 PM
I think pudding used to refer to something you would make in a bowl. Specifically a 'Pudding Bowl', and was a mixture. And that wasn't confined to a sweet or non-meat dish either, for example 'Black Pudding, which is very much not a desert (but also delicious!).

We have a pudding steamer at home - looks a little like this. You just put it in a pot of boiling water with the lid on. Obviously you don't fully immerse it :-)

http://www.kitchenshop.co.nz/uploads/73735/images/115924/dissco_steamed_pudding_bowl.jpg

We use it for different types of steamed puddings.

I'm surprised steamed puddings have sort of fallen out of fashion a bit. They are real easy to make and are really nice for desert!

Glowing Tubes
11-16-2013, 10:03 PM
Fruitcake=doorstop. I would hope this pudding would be better than fruitcake. :-)

Frankee
11-16-2013, 10:11 PM
You are wasting your time trying to educate these uncouth Yanks. They have never tasted the miracle of Spotted Dick, or Treacle Tarts, or the wonderful Christmas pud covered in Birds custard...........they know not of these delights.......

We have tamales. :dunno

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 10:15 PM
We have tamales. :dunno

And pizza. Two different kinds even!

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 10:16 PM
And pizza. Two different kinds even!

Even if one of those Pizza's is really tomato soup in a bread bowl :roll

Dexter.Sinister
11-16-2013, 10:28 PM
Pudding has many meanings. The original puddings of Italy and then France and finally the UK and its far arm overseas are similar: starchy objects plus fat and binding agents and flavoring agents are shaped into an orb and steamed or boiled. They may be savory or sweet. At some point, "pudding" became a synonym of "dessert". Americans transmorgrified pudding into something like custard, though sometimes made with starch in place of egg.

Puddings are not cakes because the former uses wet heat and the latter dry heat. Holiday cakes and puddings share DNA, but are really quite different. Both are excellent if prepared well.

Our family has half its roots in the Britains and the other half in Germany, so we make both cakes and puddings for the holidays. Both have flour and spices and sugar and dried fruits and liquor. Both are served for dessert and the Big Meals and also in bites in the late afternoon with a bit of sherry and a cup-o.

Its a nice tradition.

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 10:31 PM
Even if one of those Pizza's is really tomato soup in a bread bowl :roll

:nono Careful, wars have been started over less! ..there was one about tea I believe..

dsw67
11-16-2013, 10:33 PM
From Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol'

"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 pastrycook's 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."

MadFrank
11-16-2013, 10:33 PM
Pudding has many meanings. The original puddings of Italy and then France and finally the UK and its far arm overseas are similar: starchy objects plus fat and binding agents and flavoring agents are shaped into an orb and steamed or boiled. They may be savory or sweet. At some point, "pudding" became a synonym of "dessert". Americans transmorgrified pudding into something like custard, though sometimes made with starch in place of egg.

Puddings are not cakes because the former uses wet heat and the latter dry heat. Holiday cakes and puddings share DNA, but are really quite different. Both are excellent if prepared well.

Our family has half its roots in the Britains and the other half in Germany, so we make both cakes and puddings for the holidays. Both have flour and spices and sugar and dried fruits and liquor. Both are served for dessert and the Big Meals and also in bites in the late afternoon with a bit of sherry and a cup-o.

Its a nice tradition.

And home-made Mince Pies! That's mince meat, that doesn't contain any meat, but father spiced fruit and flour and things. I can see how this get's confusing.

MrAstro
11-16-2013, 10:40 PM
And home-made Mince Pies! That's mince meat, that doesn't contain any meat, but father spiced fruit and flour and things. I can see how this get's confusing.

I love mince pies - always have those at Christmas. Mum makes them these days - but my great-grandmother made beautiful ones and is one of my fondest memories of her.

IbanezAndy
11-16-2013, 10:47 PM
Fruitcake=doorstop. I would hope this pudding would be better than fruitcake. :-)

Let me fix this for you...

American fruitcake = doorstop.

I have no idea how you can use the same ingredients as fruitcake made in the UK, or Oz but come up with a completely different (and utterly horrible) result.

And yes...boiled pudding rocks!

MrTAteMyBalls
11-17-2013, 08:57 AM
Boilded pudding. Never heard of it. Sounds great, though.

mdrake34
11-17-2013, 09:16 AM
How does the pudding not spoil if there's a month (and one guy said like 11 months?) in between the start and finish? I have literally never heard of this.

MadFrank
11-17-2013, 09:43 AM
How does the pudding not spoil if there's a month (and one guy said like 11 months?) in between the start and finish? I have literally never heard of this.

The alcohol pickles it! You then store it in a cool dry place, like a larder.

Hanglow
11-17-2013, 10:24 AM
I usually make one in january for the next year, although I forgot to make one this year.

I have eaten some that are about six years old, they are still good. Just be sure to feed it brandy.

served with brandy butter and brandy sauce please!

mdrake34
11-17-2013, 10:29 AM
The alcohol pickles it! You then store it in a cool dry place, like a larder.

Please forgive me, I live in Georgia - what's a larder?

MadFrank
11-17-2013, 11:16 AM
Please forgive me, I live in Georgia - what's a larder?

A cool storage space for food. I don't suppose people have them anymore, even here, so a cupboard is the nearest thing. Somewhere that's neither hot nor a fridge that freezes. I suspect you have a word that you use for something similar.

84superchamp
11-17-2013, 12:35 PM
You are wasting your time trying to educate these uncouth Yanks. They have never tasted the miracle of Spotted Dick, or Treacle Tarts, or the wonderful Christmas pud covered in Birds custard...........they know not of these delights.......

hahaha, most of us by choice.

reading the OP, i suspected it was from a cuture other than American, which begs the question: why is there not more encounters with receipes from the Old Countries? of course a receipe that contains animal organs that are not normal fare is sure to be a turn-off.

and couldn't someone think of a better name than Spotted Dick? i mean, dayam.

MrAstro
12-14-2013, 04:12 AM
So after a month or so of hanging the pudding. Today I boiled it for a final two hours.

Here's a picture of it coming out of the boiler.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5508/11364712436_84a3d57cee_c.jpg

After removing the cloth a pudding always looks lighter in colour.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7443/11364664865_fe2bab36c3_c.jpg

But after an hour or so they darken up into something resembling the finished product :beer In terms of size - that's a large stainless pizza plate the pudding is sitting on.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2862/11364701006_643af3f932_c.jpg

michael30
12-14-2013, 12:21 PM
In terms of size - that's a large stainless pizza plate the pudding is sitting on.

:eek: For how many people?

MrAstro
12-14-2013, 02:56 PM
:eek: For how many people?

I couldnt say exactly. It's enough to feed a huge extended family for desert on Christmas day with about half left over.

You can freeze the remainder and they cut well even when they are frozen when you want some with a cup of tea.

M40A1
12-14-2013, 03:03 PM
Wow, that's some weird stuff. The "pud'n" I'm used to comes in a box marked "Jello!" Ha!

IbanezAndy
12-14-2013, 06:59 PM
So after a month or so of hanging the pudding. Today I boiled it for a final two hours.

Here's a picture of it coming out of the boiler.



That's a fine looking pudding MrAstro! I'll bet it tastes even better than it looks! I'm very jealous...

enocaster
12-14-2013, 07:12 PM
I'm american and have had Plum Pudding on Christmas for most of my life. It does not contain plums, it does contain grated beef suet (fat), golden and muscat raisins, and quite a bit of molasses. We don't make it in advance, just eat it hot after 3 hours steaming in the pudding pail that's probably 100 years old. It's served with hard sauce - a chilled, lightly spiced butter and sugar mixture. A small scoop melts into the hot slice of pudding. It's incredibly rich and delicious, but bizarre to the unititiated!

cj_wattage
12-14-2013, 07:21 PM
Wow, I was unaware of this wide world of pudding. Imma have to look more into this. Sounds like a fun family activity.

MrAstro
12-14-2013, 07:34 PM
Wow, that's some weird stuff. The "pud'n" I'm used to comes in a box marked "Jello!" Ha!

Think of it as a boiled fruit cake - but a lot denser and richer.

That's a fine looking pudding MrAstro! I'll bet it tastes even better than it looks! I'm very jealous...

Why thank you Ibanez Andy! If you lived closer I'd invite you over for a piece and a cup of tea!

I'm american and have had Plum Pudding on Christmas for most of my life. It does not contain plums, it does contain grated beef suet (fat), golden and muscat raisins, and quite a bit of molasses. We don't make it in advance, just eat it hot after 3 hours steaming in the pudding pail that's probably 100 years old. It's served with hard sauce - a chilled, lightly spiced butter and sugar mixture. A small scoop melts into the hot slice of pudding. It's incredibly rich and delicious, but bizarre to the unititiated!

Sounds delicious, I'd love to try some!

Wow, I was unaware of this wide world of pudding. Imma have to look more into this. Sounds like a fun family activity.

Definitely give it a go! You can PM me at any time if you are serious about it and I can give you some advice if you need it. It's actually one of the nicest family activities of Christmas. At one time, my Grandparents and Parents all got together and made a pudding each. Us kids used to help lick the spoon:-) Some nice memories there now that my Grandparents are no longer with us...

teletran1175
12-14-2013, 08:43 PM
The only pudding I get around these parts I like is from New Orleans and comes with rum sauce.

http://mda.bigoven.com/pics/new-orleans-bread-pudding.jpg

DrumBob
12-14-2013, 08:46 PM
Is it figgy pudding?