Posted on December 25, 2015
Have you heard of plum pudding or Christmas pudding?
Have you ever eaten these traditional British dishes?
It may surprise you to realize that plum pudding has no plums! Instead, the old-time use of the word plum meant dried grapes, otherwise known as raisins. Like raisins, plum pudding is often very dark in color.
Plum pudding comes to us from way back in medieval England. The dried fruits and raisins are held together by egg and suet (beef or mutton fat), moistened by alcohol (often brandy), sweetened by treacle (sugary syrup) or molasses, and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. It is steamed for a long time – we're talking hours!
What makes this pudding sooo special, and to me a bit gross, is that it is aged for a few months or even a year! The alcohol content of the pudding prevents the fruits from spoiling.
When it is served on Christmas Day, the plum pudding is reheated by steaming and is often drenched with warm brandy that is set alight. A traditional decoration is to put a sprig of holly on the top.
Plum pudding is often eaten with one or more of the following instead of with frosting and ice cream:
sweetened bechamel sauce
sprinkles of caster sugar
There is a Christmas carol in which we hear, “Now bring us some figgy pudding...” As you have probably guessed, figgy pudding is similar to “plum” pudding, but it features figs instead of raisins. Some sources claim that the figgy pudding from the Christmas carol is actually another name for plum pudding.
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