History of Traditional Christmas Plum Pudding


Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding or plum duff, is traditionally served on Christmas day and contains a variety of dried fruits. It has gone through many changes since its origins in the middle Ages in England. It can't be perfectly pin pointed when the Christmas pudding was first invented. But the legend suggests that a King was lost in a forest with a very little supply of food. He then took shelter of a poor woman and asked his servants to mix all the ingredients they had with the poor woman's foods. The servants put all the flour, apples, dried plums, ale sugar, brandy etc. together and boiled in a cloth. The mixture became a delicious food for everyone to share. The pudding we know today is the outcome of this King's idea of mixing all the available ingredients he and his companions had for eating, if we believe the legend.

According to the tales, the Christmas pudding is associated to the Roman Catholic Church's decree in the medieval age in England. The decree stated that "pudding should be made on 25th Sunday after the Trinity and should use 13 ingredients to represent Christ himself and the 12 Apostles". At that time every household prepared the plum pudding and stir it in from east to west to honour the Magi and their journey in that direction.

As time passed, the Christmas puddings vitality on the occasion faded away. But it was not long forgotten and it become popular again in 1714 after King George re-established Christmas pudding as a main part of the dinner on Christmas day. Nowadays it is rigidly observed in many household and process has become lot easier with the pudding being available in shops and supermarkets ready-made with the variety of puddings including: steamed puddings, gluten-free puddings, dairy free puddings, gourmet puddings etc. Many people still see the tradition and stir small token coin and many other objects (chocolate objects) into the mixture. The silver coin symbolized wealth, wishbone for good luck, an anchor for safe harbour, thimble for thrift and the lucky members who get it. They keep the charm as their lucky tokens.

For those who make the pudding all by themselves, they first mix the ingredients, stream it and then keep in a cool dry place for several days. They steam the pudding for more than hours on the day it is served. Christmas pudding has changed a lot from the way it had been made earlier. Now people mix suet, vegetarian suet instead of beef suet to make it lighter. It also has a variety of dried fruit including currants, nuts, raisins, bread crumbs, eggs, brandy, spice etc. Many people like the pudding to be served with double cream or homemade custard, rum butter, brandy butter etc. depending on family members' tastes and preferences.
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