Love it or hate it, Christmas Pudding is an iconic dessert that has been a staple in festive celebrations for centuries.

Although it has waned in popularity in recent years, this rich, fruity pudding, also has a rich history surrounding its creation.

  Originating in England, the very first version of the Christmas pudding was created in the 14th Century and was known as Frumenty, which had the consistency of a pottage or porridge. Bearing little resemblance to the dessert we know today, it was made with a combination of beef or mutton, wine, raisins, currants, and a mix of spices, and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By the end of the 14th century, Frumenty had undergone several name changes including plum pudding, Christmas pudding, or just pud. After the 16th century the pudding slowly shifted from savoury to sweet. Legend has it that it was banned by Puritans who considered it too ‘sinfully rich’ for human consumption, and they even sought to make celebrating Christmas itself illegal in 1656. Puritans saw Christmas as a Roman Catholic celebration, with no relevance to the bible, considering it an immoral festival that enticed debauchery and excessive drinking. An often-repeated story goes that King George I requested plum pudding as a part of the first Christmas feast of his reign in 1714, and it was then reinstated as a key element of the Christmas meal in the mid-17th Century. By Victorian times, Christmas puddings had transformed into something like the pudding we recognise today. Interestingly it is thought that the ban was never officially rescinded, so are we all eating the pudding illegally?


And there’s more…


Superstitions say that Christmas pudding must be prepared with 13 ingredients, which are said to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples. It is also said that the mixture should be stirred in turn from east to west, by each family member, to honour the disciples’ journey.


Originally, puddings were shaped into a sphere and boiled in a cloth. This practice eventually gave way to puddings being steamed in a basin or an elaborate mould, particularly in wealthier households. The traditional accompaniment to Christmas pudding was a sweet custard or a hard sauce, nowadays known as brandy butter. Presented with a decorative sprig of holly, puddings were doused in brandy and set alight. The flaming brandy is thought to represent the Passion of Christ and this ritual is still widely carried out today.


Finding a coin in your pudding on Christmas day is a tradition that's lasted for more than 500 years. For the lucky recipient, it’s said to grant a good luck wish for the coming new year. However, in recent years, this practice has petered out, and not because of standards set by the Food Safety Authority, which only lays down laws for the workplace and not the home. While some believe it’s against health and safety regulations, others say it simply isn’t safe. So, contrary to popular belief, we are at liberty to put as many trinkets in our puddings as we wish, so long as we don’t heat them up in a microwave!


Whether you believe the above to be fact or fiction, we’ve included a link to a delicious Christmas pudding recipe from BBC Food, which would make the perfect addition to any Christmas feast.

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