While turkey, ham or goose may be the main event at most tables this Christmas, a delicious and distinctive dessert is the finale that lingers on everyone’s tongue and memory. Moist and rich, yet deceivingly light, the sweet flavours of carrots, raisins and currants blend together to give this dish a surprising fresh flavour.
History of Christmas Pudding
Dating all the way back to the seventeenth century, Christmas pudding, also known as Plum pudding, originated in England and has since evolved to include a wide range of ingredients accompanied by various sauces. Different families put their own spin on traditional recipes, and before long an entirely new Christmas pudding has been created. Essentially, Christmas pudding blends together items that were conventionally considered exclusive ingredients, such as dried fruit or nuts.
Beliefs and Traditions
Since this particular dessert dates back centuries, many customs have developed that surround the almost sacred act of baking a Christmas pudding. It was customary to make the pudding four to five weeks before Christmas, and this day became known as “Stir-up Sunday”. Including silver coins, a wishbone or thimble in the mixture also became popular. Then, when it was time for the dessert to be brought to the table, the pudding would be soaked with brandy and torched.
Christmas Pudding Ingredients
- 1 cup very finely grated carrots (juice and all)
- 1 cup very finely grated potatoes (juice and all)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup currants
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
- 3/4 cup ground suet
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together and place in medium sized, oven-proof bowl. Cover with wax paper, placing elastic band around bowl to help keep wax paper in place. Place in large heavy saucepan; add enough water to steam pudding for 3 hours. (May be reheated using the same method.) Serve warm, topped with lemon sauce.
Lemon Sauce Ingredients
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Dash salt
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt; add water gradually as you stir. Boil for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and butter.
Note: To add more lemon-flavour to the sauce, double the amount of lemon juice and add 2 tsp of lemon zest.
Families can make this recipe their very own by combining new ingredients, adding flavours from their own favourite pudding, or pairing the dessert with a different sauce or topping. Whatever the end result, a Christmas pudding is a festive treat to enjoy this holiday season.