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Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding because of the abundance of prunes, originated in England. It is traditionally made five weeks before Christmas, on or after the Sunday before Advent. The day was often called ‘stir-up Sunday’ and each family member or child in the household gave the pudding a stir and made a wish.

The rich pudding is boiled or steamed, made of a heavy mixture of fresh or dried fruit, nuts and sometimes suet, a raw beef or mutton fat. Vegetarian suet may also be used for a lighter taste. The pudding is very dark, almost black, and is saturated with brandy, dark beer, or other alcohols. Puddings were boiled in a ‘pudding cloth’, but today they are usually made in basins.

Many households mixed in silver coins (for wealth), tiny wishbones (for good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), a ring (for marriage), or an anchor (for safe harbour) and, when served, whoever got the lucky serving would be able to keep the charm. When silver coins were not as readily available, the practice ended because people feared putting alloy coins in their pudding. Today, small token coins and other objects are made just for this use.

After the pudding has been steamed, it is kept in a cool, dry place for several weeks or longer and is then steamed for a few more hours on the day it is served. There are different ways Christmas pudding is served. Some decorate it with a spray of holly, douse it in brandy or set it on fire. Many families present the pudding in the dark or bring it to the table ceremoniously, where it is met with a round of applause.

Christmas pudding is eaten with brandy butter, rum butter, hard sauce, cream, custard or with castor sugar. We love serving ours with brandy custard (for the recipe, click here).

Puckles’ Christmas puddings have that traditional, homestyle taste made using the best quality ingredients. They make great gifts for family and friends as well as a terrific centrepiece for your Christmas dinner.

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