The Christmas pudding recipe, held in the highest regard in every Irish household, is passed down through generations with a sense of pride and respect.
This year, my mother passed on my Granny's cherished recipe to me. On a crisp Autumnal Sunday, we made two puddings, the one we will serve on Christmas Day and a small pudding which we will have in early December referred to as 'The Kitten'.
Once all the ingredients are added, the mix is left to rest overnight in the mixing bowl, under a tea towel allowing the dried fruits to absorb the alcohol. Whereas my Great Gran would have boiled the pudding in a cloth bag, nowadays, we cook the pudding in a bowl immersed in a tray of water for approx 6 hours. Following a second cooking on Christmas day, the pudding is topped out and served as the finale to the Christmas meal
Each family's recipe is generally inherited with individual customs and traditions, so instead of divulging my family's recipe, I thought I would focus instead on a brief history of this yummy festive dessert.
Originating in medieval England, the Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding, referring to the Victorian use of the word 'plum' as a term for raisins. Traditionally made up of 13 ingredients (representing Christ and the 12 Apostles) including dried fruit, breadcrumbs, whiskey, stout, suet and spices. This sweet pudding recipe replaced the original savoury recipe containing poultry, pheasant, rabbit and partridge in the 17th century.
Common customs associated with this pudding include each member of the household stirring the mix while making a wish. It is also common to include tokens such as coins (to bring wealth in the coming year).
Due to its high alcohol content, the pudding does not spoil and can keep for up to a year. Some households produce a second pudding to be consumed at Easter.
In my family, the pudding does not see St.Stephens day, let alone Easter. Each year we will declare how successful or unsuccessful the pudding is. Needless to say the successful years have outweighed the unsuccessful ones. No doubt my time will come to prepare the Christmas pudding to the family recipe, but for the moment, I'm happy to let my Mum take full responsibility, allowing me to enjoy my favourite festive dessert.
I like mine served with custard, to my Granny's recipe of course.
Blog post by: Clare Grennan