While widely available nowadays from external outlets, those that cook their pudding from scratch might prepare it weeks or months in advance in advance to honour historical methods, as well as to allow the flavour to mature, such as with wine. If they do this, then they may want to get it just right for a fun reason, as Christmas Puddings are also notable for being a ‘flambe’ (flammable) food, with a group of TV chefs showing how this entertaining pre-meal ritual can be achieved:
The Christmas Pudding is a tradition that is strongly followed at many households (with varying levels of detail) worldwide that celebrate the holiday, and is seen by some as the perfect finish to a traditional Chrismas dinner. Nowadays, customers can easily purchase one from a shop or bakery, but despite the lengthy history of this unique food item the creation of a pudding can pass by unnoticed, so who was it that originally invented this dessert, when did they do it, and why?
While the inventor of Christmas Pudding cannot be pin-pointed in the history books, a legend behind the history of it suggests that there was a royal influence to its inception, a medievil English folk tale telling the tale of a king on Christmas Eve in lost in a forest with little supplies or food, who seeked food and shelter from a poor woodman’s cottage. The occupant did not have much food either, though, so the king’s servant was asked to mix together a meal from all the collective ingredients remaining from both people (chopped suet, flour, eggs, apples, dried plums, ale, sugar and brandy), and after being boiled in a cloth, the mixture became a delicious pudding for everyone to share.
The pudding was said to have become widespread in 1714 after King George I had ordered it to become part of the official royal Christmas dinner, despite objections from Puritan Christians, who claimed that this dessert was not in accordance with God’s will due to the rich ingredients. George I carried on regardless, though, and the Christmas Pudding has been a symbol of the holiday season ever since.
The use of plums in the recipe (which is said to have dated back further than the folk tale in various incarnations, including a recipe for a ‘sweet soup’) meant that the dessert was originally known as ‘plum pudding’. Although this tradition has long since disappeared, there are many more that have withstood the development of the pudding to what it has become today (in size and ingredients).
These traditions have included some people using exactly 13 ingredients for the pudding (representing Jesus & his disciples), putting coins (originally silver) in the mixture for the recipient (whoever had a slice with coins in, kept them, representing wealth going into the new year), and allowing each family member to stir the mixture whilst making a secret wish, amongst other religiously-based rituals.