It happens every year. The diary fills up with special things to do and all of a sudden everything else that has mattered for the past eleven months becomes background activity and thinking. Well at least I have to admit to that happening to me. Try as I may I struggle to keep my mind free of end of year gatherings, fruit cakes, shortbread and plumb puddings. I fail miserably to stay focused. I do however love cooking the festive fare that my mother and grandmothers cooked in their day.
For the last three years I have made the plum pudding from a recipe handed down from my great-great-grandmother, aptly named Fanny’s Christmas Pudding. The first year that I attempted this was the year after my own mother had passed away. My son, who happens to be a very experienced chef, shared the day and the pudding making. He worked with a professional swiftness that was a delight to watch. Since then pudding making has been shared with my husband.
I love the old smells of mixed spice and cinnamon combined. I shudder at the use of suet but I also love the fact that the recipe is authentic. I love the fact that my grandmothers made this pudding in exactly the same way that I make it today. Of course they would have to have put the boiler on the wood stove to boil and kept the wood up to maintain a steady heat for the pudding to be boiled to perfection. I wonder, did they see the pudding making as a special event? I certainly do!
‘Fanny’s Christmas Pudding’
6 ozs plain flour, 8 ozs beef suet, 8 ozs sultanas, 6 ozs brown sugar, 2 ozs almonds, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup rum or brandy, grated rind and lemon juice, 6 ozs breadcrumbs, 8 ozs raisins, 8 ozs currants,¼ lb. mixed peel, ½ packet mixed spice (1 oz), 1 grated carrot, 6 eggs
Method: 1. Put saucepan of water on to boil. 2. Sift flour. 3. Shred suet and rub into flour. 4. Add breadcrumbs and fruit. 5. Add spice, sugar, grated lemon rind and grated carrot. 6. Beat eggs well and mix in well. 7. Add lemon juice. 8. Cook in basin with cloth tied on top or in a scalded, floured pudding cloth for 4 hours. 9. Hang in cool place till required. 10. When required, boil for another 2 to 3 hours, remove from cloth and serve with custard.
This is a very old recipe from a book produced in the 1830’s, my great-great grandmother made this pudding and it was passed down through the generations, it’s still made today in our family. The suet is not the healthiest choice in this day and age but once a year it’s a treat if used sensibly. The pudding is delicious and any left overs freeze well. Enjoy!