The Christmas and New Year celebrations are over for another year and all that is left now is, in my experience, a pantry of traditional Christmas left overs that you will probably be eating until Easter! In the run down to Twelfth Night we will have a look at a couple of these traditional foods.
Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner.
But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is not what it was originally like!
Early British Christmas Puddings
Early Christmas puddings contained meat usually mutton or beef as well as onions, wine, spices and dried fruit.
The tradition of Christmas pudding did not appear in England until introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. By this time the pudding looked and tasted much as it does today.
When should the Christmas Pudding be made?
The Sunday before Advent Sunday is sometimes know as ‘Stir-up Sunday’. This is the day the pudding is made and is about five weeks before Christmas.
The customs surrounding making pudding brings the whole family together as each takes a turn to stir the mixture and make a wish and add coins; the finding of them on Christmas day purportedly bringing wealth, health, happiness, and ensuring everyone at least eats some to find one! In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘six pence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece!
Why Do We Flame the Christmas Pudding?
Flaming the pudding is another tradition, believed to represent the passion of Christ, and again is an essential part of the theater of Christmas day. Eating Christmas pudding was banned by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century because he believed the ritual of flaming the pudding harked back to pagan celebrations of the winter solstice.
Leftover Christmas Pudding
Use up leftovers in this tasty frozen treat from BBC Good Food
- 4 large egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 175g leftover Christmas pudding
- 2-3 tbsp brandy or orange liqueur
- 300ml pot double cream
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk for 10 mins until pale and thick. Break up the Christmas pudding with a fork and stir it into the egg mixture so it is evenly distributed, then pour in the brandy and mix again.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour into a freezer-proof container, cover well and freeze for several hours until set.