Christmas pudding is a very English dish, and it has gone through quite a turbulent history. Read on to learn all about this Christmas dinner staple.
The Christmas pudding started life as a rather unappetising fusion of sweet and savoury in the 14th century. Frumity, as it was called back then, was a sort of porridge mix made with beef or mutton, into which was added currants, raisins, spices and wine.
By the middle of the 16th century, dried fruit was more readily available, and Christmas pudding moved firmly into the sweet arena and became a staple of the Christmas table. During the rule of the Puritans, however, this sweet dessert was considered sinfully rich and decadent, and it fell out of favour. It was in 1714 that the food-loving King George I revived the tradition of serving Christmas pudding on Christmas Day, and it has enjoyed its place as the finale of Christmas dinner ever since.
Interestingly, although it was known for so long as plum pudding, Christmas pudding didn’t actually include plums. It is believed to have been given this name as the Victorians referred to all dishes containing dried fruits as plum cakes or plum puddings.
The tradition of hiding sixpences in the pudding came from Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. A single silver sixpence was added to the pudding mix, and each member of the household was invited to stir the uncooked mix. Once served, the fortunate person who got the portion containing the sixpence would have good luck for the next year.
As key to our festivities as Christmas trees and lights, Christmas pudding is still enormously popular today. It is estimated that more than 25 million are eaten each year!