Even in these arduous and unusual occasions, Christmas can be celebrated and traditions upheld. And for a lot of British households, Christmas dinner wouldn’t be full with out a Christmas pudding – historically served with brandy sauce, brandy butter or custard.
The Christmas pudding originated within the 14th-century as a type of porridge, initially often known as “frumenty”, which bears little resemblance to the dessert we all know at this time.
It was initially made with hulled wheat, boiled in milk, seasoned with cinnamon and colored with saffron. It was related to meatless days, lent and creation and was typically served as a plain dish. However there are a selection of recipes which included additions reminiscent of beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices.
In some cases, this was the staple meals for Christmas eve, though in Yorkshire it was eaten very first thing on Christmas morning. Within the 17th-century modifications to the recipe have been made. It was thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and beer or spirits have been added – and got here to resemble one thing a bit extra like a candy pudding. Nevertheless, it was the Victorians who advantageous tuned the recipe into the Christmas pudding many people get pleasure from at this time.
A Christmas pudding ought to have 13 components – that characterize Jesus and the 12 disciples. Historically, these components embrace: raisins, currants, suet, brown sugar, breadcrumbs, citron, lemon peel, orange peel, flour, blended spices, eggs, milk and brandy. Brandy can also be historically poured over the pudding and set alight. The flaming brandy is alleged to characterize the fervour of Christ.
Christmas puddings have been historically boiled in a “pudding material”, though at this time are often steamed in a bowl. Introduced on the desk with a sprig of holly, they’re then doused in brandy and set alight.
The final Sunday earlier than Introduction turned often known as “fire up Sunday”. This was when the components of the pudding can be assembled and stirred up in a bowl with a picket spoon (representing the manger) from east to west – symbolising the journey taken by the three sensible males. Historically, each member of the family stirs the pudding 3 times and makes a secret want.
Trinkets have been at all times included within the conventional pudding. As a baby I nonetheless keep in mind the thrill of ready to see who was going to search out the sixpence. Whoever discovered the coin was believed to have success over the approaching yr.
A wholesome pud?
Though the Christmas holidays can typically really feel a little bit unhealthy – with quite a lot of sitting round and extreme meals consumption – the components that make-up a Christmas pudding are literally fairly nutritious.
Conventional Christmas puddings consists of fibre wealthy components, reminiscent of fruits, nuts and currants. Dried fruits are wealthy in fibre, enzymes, polyphenols (substances with a excessive antioxidant exercise), nutritional vitamins and minerals. Sultanas, currants, apricots and pears are extremely nutritious and full of important potassium and iron. And though dried fruits can include quite a lot of sugar, they’ve a decrease glycemic index worth so don’t affect your blood sugar in the identical manner as different candy treats.
Raisins are additionally wealthy in antimicrobial compounds, fibre and iron. These compounds decrease the danger of coronary heart illness and may relieve constipation. Prunes can also additionally support with digestion, relieve constipation, scale back irritation and shield cells from free radical harm.
Walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds can be added into the combo and these all include a variety of well being advantages – from decreasing levels of cholesterol and decreasing coronary heart illness danger to delivering excessive ranges of vitamin E, polyphenols and melatonin.
The blended spices, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pimentos (or all spice) in a Christmas pudding are additionally an unbelievable supply of fragrant antioxidants. Spices support digestion and have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. They’ll supposedly even assist to scale back bloating, cramps and nausea – key when you’ve been overdoing it a bit.
There’s one secret ingredient typically neglected however included in lots of recipes – the carrot. Wealthy in beta-carotene, which the physique utilises to provide Vitamin A, carrots are good for decreasing levels of cholesterol and, sure, for the well being of your eyes.
A worldwide custom
Though a British custom, the Christmas pudding is eaten in numerous international locations together with Australia and South Africa. The Canadians even have a model which incorporates potatoes alongside the carrots.
The Christmas pudding even makes its manner into literature, with Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol making reference to it. Then there may be the case for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot to resolve wherein he’s suggested to keep away from the plum pudding – one other title for the Christmas pud.
One well-known truth concerning the Christmas pudding is that there at all times appears to be some left over after Christmas day. In actual fact Christmas puddings of the previous might last as long as a yr, so it was typically shared out. Certainly, in 1885 a British newspaper reported the joyful consumption of a plum pudding – despatched overland by way of particular envoy from Tehran — to a bunch of British troopers stationed in northwestern Afghanistan.
Should you don’t fancy posting a pudding there are a selection of how you possibly can share and use the leftovers – with an entire host of recipes from Christmas strudel to a black pudding breakfast substitute. One other agency favorite is Christmas pudding ice-cream – merely combine pudding with vanilla ice cream and revel in!