"Christmas pudding"

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Topic: English cuisine

Christmas Pudding
Whether you call it Christmas pudding or plum pudding, this rich, heavy dessert claims a special spot on any holiday table. For those with a flare for the dramatic, lighting the pudding is often the climax of a Christmas feast. As is the case with many holiday foods, the history of Christmas pudding dates to medieval England.
Religious origins
Christmas pudding also took on the name plum pudding because of the ample number of prunes in it, according to the English Tea Store. This pudding came into existence when the medieval Roman Catholic Church ordered the faithful to serve a pudding on the 25th Sunday after Trinity, known as Stir-up Sunday. The original recipe contained 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles, Christmas Puddings indicates. Each family member was supposed to stir the pudding from East to West to symbolically honor the journey of the Wise Men. The earliest method of preparation followed a means of preserving meat in the 15th century. The finished product was a pastry filled with fruit and preserved meat known as a mince pie.
During one portion of the Middle Ages, an alternative version known as Frumenty was consumed on the fasting days of Advent. Made by boiling corn or wheat with mutton and beef and milk, it resembled a soupy Christmas porridge. Once sugar made its way into the recipe, the dish picked up the name plum pudding, according to Lovely Christmas.
When the Puritans rose to power after the end of the English Civil War in 1645, Oliver Cromwell and his supporters banned a number of celebrations and traditions, including that of Christmas pudding. However, in 1714, King George I requested a plum pudding for the royal Christmas feast. This recipe eliminated meat and later enjoyed popularity as a favorite of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.
Traditional recipe
Today’s Christmas pudding closely follows the recipe that was popular in Victorian England. The dessert is steamed or boiled and fashioned from a mixture of fresh or dried fruit and nuts. Some recipes add suet, which is a raw beef or mutton fat. The finished product is so dark that it almost looks black.
Once a pudding has been steamed, it goes into storage in a cool dry spot for at least several weeks. It will be steamed again on the day it graces a holiday table. Many families love a Christmas pudding decorated with a sprig of holly and prefer to set the dessert on fire. Over the years, the flaming of the pudding has been a tradition said to depict the passion of Christ.
Tradition dictates serving the pudding with brandy butter, rum butter, double cream or homemade custard. The holly placed atop the pudding is said to be a symbol of the crown of thorns on Christ’s head.
Pudding trivia
Many people still enjoy hiding small charms like silver coins, rings or thimbles in Christmas pudding. Other good-luck symbols include a small wishbone or an anchor for safety at sea.
Coins are generally a reminder of hoped-for health, wealth and happiness in the coming year. Like fruitcake, Christmas pudding is a favorite that can be lovingly produced at home or purchased from a retailer.
8 oz currants
8 oz. sultanas
8 oz. stoned raisins
8 oz. Barbados sugar
4 oz. grated beef suet
4 oz. fresh breadcrumbs
4 oz. ground almonds
4 oz. blanched almonds, chopped
4 oz. mixed candied peel
6 oz. cooking apple, peeled and finely chopped
8 oz. plain flour
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 fl. oz. stout
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 oz. ground mixed spice
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp. brandy
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with 2 tbsp. of the brandy. Pour the mixture into a greased 3 1/2 pint pudding basin and cover with a double layer of greased, greaseproof paper or aluminum foil--pleated in the middle to allow for expansion. Tie string under the rim and across the top to make a handle. Place a trivet in the base of a large saucepan. Lower the pudding into the saucepan and fill with enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Pour in more boiling water if necessary.
When the Pudding is cooked, pour the remaining brandy over the surface and re-cover. To reheat, boil gently for 3-4 hours.
To serve, decorate with a sprig of holly and flambé at the table with warmed brandy, if desired. Can also be served with Brandy Butter or delicious Devonshire Cream.

1. Category.National symbols of Great Britain
2. kent sch.uk.
3. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by A. S. Hornby, Moscow, Russian Language Publishers, 1982.
4. Ліндер Е.Р., Маслова Л.К., Циба Р.І. “Чи знаєте ви?”, Київ, Радянська школа, 1986.
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