Following the joys of Stir-Up Sunday I’ve surprisingly woken up bright and early, but I wonder what you’re up to?
Maybe you’re still in the land of nod, nestled within the warm layers of your soft, brushed, cotton duvet – How blissful! Or possibly I’ve startled you from your sleep and now you’re walking like a zombie towards the kettle – definitely time for a cuppa! Either way, I’m going to tell you all about Mrs Beeton’s rich and moist Christmas Pudding – which I re-created from scratch!
Darlings, I do wonder if you know what Stir-Up Sunday actually is? “Hmm, that certainly rings a bell”, Miss Windsor hears you grunt from deep within your bedclothes!
You see, following a Victorian yet religious tradition one should make their Christmas Pudding on the last Sunday before Advent begins. This is a special time when family gather together and take it in turns to stir the pudding mixture, whilst making a wish for the year ahead. Traditionally charms were added such as a silver coin which represents wealth – Isn’t that spiffing!
To be honest, I’m feeling rather exhilarated, yet a touch drowsy following yesterday’s kitchen merriment. And as I’m sat looking across London, sipping Twining’s Christmas Blend Tea from my favourite dainty teacup, I’m shocked to observe the cruelty of the British weather!
So darlings, as I struggle to gaze through the rain streaming down the window; I manage to catch a glimpse of the grey sombre clouds hovering above London’s skyline like thick dense smoke - accompanied by the bellowing wind that swirls angrily between the gangly trees – Oh, what a glorious morning!
Well, one wonders if I had stirred the pudding mixture too vigorously, unaware that I actually ‘cooked’ up more than a culinary storm!
So, in a fraught attempt to ease myself back into the Christmas spirit– I have succumbed to the tried and tested method of music. In this case, I will preform a sing-a-long to the high-spirited carol of We Wish You a Merry Christmas! One would say it's quite an appropriate choice, considering it contains the following line, “Oh, bring us a Figgy Pudding and a cup of good cheer!” – Well, in my case a teacup of Twinings Christmas Blend Tea!
However, according to my research, some oddly believe that the American term – Figgy Pudding – is a kind of soufflé or just another name for Christmas Pudding – Now, that’s more like it! Nevertheless, it’s a steamed, spicy, fruity kinda pudding come cake, that can be made with ‘figs’ or any other dried fruit that is lavishly drenched in alcohol.
Now, a little bit of history about the world-famous Christmas Pudding. It originates from England and began life in the 14th century as a Pottage called Frumenty, which was a kind of broth type soup made with beef/mutton, wine, spice, and fruit. It evolved over the years until the Victorians referred to it as Plum Pudding, or by the common title of Christmas Pudding. Please note – plums refer to raisins or any kind of dried fruit – How interesting!
Darlings, now lets focus on Mrs Beeton’s recipe – traditionally made with beef suet, spices, rum or brandy, desiccated cocoanut, breadcrumbs, mixed peel and milk, which Miss Windsor re-created with an extra special ‘twist’!
I jazzed up my version by roughly chopping the dried fruit, then soaking it for a week (but a few days will suffice) in dark Lambs Navy Rum. Then I added dark brown sugar – in fact, the original traditional version called for no sugar at all!
I also opted for brown breadcrumbs instead of white. One believes that all these additions actually deepens the colour, and prevents your pudding from looking rather ‘anaemic’ – Now, we wouldn’t want that would we!
So, before you have a good ol’ go at re-creating this heavenly pud, Miss Windsor suggests you make two generous sized puddings, instead of an extra-large one – as recommended by Mrs Beeton – which would certainly feed a family of ten! Therefore, serve one this year, then having spoon fed your second pud with dark rum all year round, it will have matured by intensifying the flavours, thus improving the texture in readiness for your next festive ‘knees up’!
Darlings, here’s the link to my version of Mrs Beeton’s Traditional Christmas Pudding
Or why not tune in to Miss Windsor’s YouTube channel for a chucklesome ‘one-to-one’ tutorial, and learn how to make your very own Christmas Pudding from scratch!
Enjoy with a drop or two of brandy butter, thick cream or custard!