RECIPE FROM "SANDY'S
(I couldn't find my Grandma's recipe for plum pudding, probably because she didn't have one. My Grandma was of English heritage and was raised in Southern Louisiana rice country, but there were a few English traditions that she kept, and Christmas Plum Pudding was one of them. I think this recipe is very close to the way she made it)
4 slices of bread, torn up
1 cup milk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
6 ounces finely chopped suet
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace
2 cups raisins (a mixture of dark and golden is nice)
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and peels, chopped
1/2 cup broken walnuts
Soak bread in milk; beat.
Stir in next five ingredients.
Sift together dry ingredients; add fruits and nuts; mix well.
Stir in bread mixture.
Pour into well-greased mold (2-quart); cover with foil and tie with string.
Place on rack in a very deep baking pan (like a dutch oven); add boiling
water to 1 inch deep.
Cover and steam for 3 1/2 hours. checking water level and adding water as
Cool 10 minutes and unmold.
Serve warm with hard sauce on top.
Thoroughly cream 1/2 cup butter with 2 cups confectioner's. Add 1-2
Tsp. vanilla (or rum or brandy) and beat til blended. Spread in
8x8x2-inch pan and chill to harden. Cut in squares.
History of Plum Pudding
Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.
During the Putitan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as "sinfully rich."
Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor.
By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings.
It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.
Quote from The Gourmets Guide
"Nowadays served only at Christmas, and so called exclusively Christmas pudding, this was formerly a common year-round pudding (albeit not always as rich as the festive version); indeed, in 1748 Pehr Kalm, a Swedish visitor to England, noted that "the art of cooking as practised by Englishmen does not extend much beyond roast beef and plum pudding". And in 1814, one of the traditional English delicacies introduced to the French by Antoine Beauvilliers in his L´art du cuisiner was plomb-poutingue."