domingo, 20 de diciembre de 2009

Dickens, six pence and a London pudding

Christmas pudding has that special Dickensian” touch that takes you back to old England, although there are reports coming as far back as the xv century. Legend has it that on the last Sunday before the beginning of the Advent, families returning from church started to make the Christmas pudding as it follows, they used t take turns to stir, and make a wish while ding it, that’s why it’s called “stir-up Sunday” They used to “bury” a sixpence coin in the pudding for the one who found would be lucky for a year.

One of the things I like the most of the English Christmas is the Christmas crackers, (we don't have these in Spain) like a beautiful candy wrapped beautiful packet that you and the person sitting next to you at the Christmas table have to pull to open it up, you then hear the cracker and an array of presents comes from inside, there is usually a paper hat (and yes, you HAVE to wear it) a quiz or a joke and a small present (how it is it ends on how much money you spent in the Christmas crackers) If you can't find the suet in the recipe, you can use butter.

Christmas in England is very different from the one in Spain, firstly and on the night of the 24th we gather and celebrate (with food, of course). This is called Nochebuena, or Goodnight, and is like a preparation of what it’s coming ahead of us. The 25this the unwrapping of the presents as well, and more food to celebrate Christmas Day, the 26th is a St Stephen and we celebrate this, as well as the night of the 31st, (big time of course) when after the meal, we sit with a bowl containing 12 grapes, and at midnight and with every stroke of the clock we eat one, after another, very focused, and thinking about what will next year bring and making a wish with every grape, 12 grapes, 12 months, and these are called the Lucky grapes. Everybody in Spain does this, and we can’t imagine a New Year’s Eve without them...


300g fresh white breadcrumbs

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated

350g raisins

100g mixed peel

50g flaked almonds

250g suet

225g demerara sugar

225g sultanas

225g currants

2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated

2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated

Wet ingredients

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 small wine glass of brandy

2 tbsp black treacle

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Fort the brandy butter

150 g softened butter

150 icing sugar

4 0r 5 tablespoons brandy


Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, from east to west, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, close your eyes and make a wish.

    Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight. . Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

      When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the brandy using a long match and tip over the pudding just before serving. Serve with the brandy butter or custard.

        And happy Christmas everyone...

        22 comentarios:

        1. I love the photos! it looks really delicious!

        2. Your pudding looks delicious.
          Je découvre ton blog et j'aime beaucoup.
          I'll come back.

        3. Lovely holiday scenes and treat. Enjoyed your post very much.

          Thanks for stopping by my blog.

          Happy Holidays!


        4. Your Christmas pudding would do any Englishman proud! It's absolutely magnificent and beautifully presented. Thanks too for the history of the pudding and the fabulous, atmospheric shots of London. It's always such a pleasure to come here and nice as well to learn more about celebrations in Spain. Happy Christmas and New Year!

        5. Congratulations on your delightful recipe, I am a great fan of Christmas Pudding and I have been baking a very old family recipe for years.
          Absolutely beautiful pictures.
          Wishing you a lovely Christmas time x

        6. Wonderful pictures! Congrats!
          Happy Holidays!

        7. Oh, that pudding is picture perfect and so tempting! I love this wonderful speciality!

          happy Holidays and all the very best for the New Year!



        8. What a beautiful photo! I don't think I have ever tasted that pudding, but now I really want to!

        9. Oh, your pix of London brought me with lots of memories. fantastic photos and makes me feel so much of being there for Xmas. Never made a xmas pudding before. Would love to try it. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

        10. Happy holidays to you daaaaahling! Stunning christmas pudding! It is interesting to learn about how people from around the world celebrate the holidays. In america we dont have christmas crackers either. Great pictures!
          *kisses* HH

        11. joyeux noël et bonne fête de fin d'année
          à bientôt

        12. The Christmas pudding looks really yummy. It is my favourite pudding. Happy holiday, and best wishes for 2010

        13. Absolutely beautiful! I've never had an English Christmas pudding, looks divine! It's so nice to hear about the way the Holiday's are celebrated in Spain. We've kept the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Years Eve as well! It's always so much fun:)

        14. Que maravilla de pudding y de fotos... me ha encantado... no se si te he contado que viví un tiempo en Londres.. me encanta esa ciudad ya la he visitado dos veces y volveré...
          Feliz año nuevo

        15. beautiful photos and the pudding looks delicious!!! :)

        16. Je te souhaite une excellente année 2010, beaucoup de santé, de joies et de réussite

        17. Loving all your pictures! Best Wishes for 2010!

        18. Fabulous post and the pudding look really amazing. Happy New Year!

        19. woooow thats looking pretty professional.. I love your blog.
          Have a great 2010 and make more beautiful pictures and recipes!!!!
          greetings from Fatma

        20. Beautiful photos and a greta story to go along with it! A lovely post!

        21. wOWWWWWW Me encanta tu blog.Por dios que bonito y aun me queda por mirar los demas.Ufffffff.
          Mi niña,he visto que sueñas con Mexico como he leido en tu perfil.Ya somos dos,jeje,la ilusion de mi vida es conocer Mexico,desde muy niña.Todo el mundo me dice que yo en otra vida debí de ser mexicana.jejeje