Last week, we talked about Christmas cake and English Christmas traditions. But there is another type of recipe prepared in England and Ireland which is also very popular and attracts the attention of foreigners because of its unusual appearance and long preparation – you will have guessed I am talking about Christmas pudding.
Christmas pudding is served for dessert on Christmas day. It is very dark (almost black), often decorated with holly (or a plant resembling holly) and flamed with brandy before it is eaten. It is served with cream or custard and sprinkled with sugar. Its main ingredients are dried fruit, nuts, treacle (which gives it its dark colour) and alcohol for the moisture. It is very heavy and you only need a small piece, especially after a huge Christmas dinner!
The preparation of the Christmas pudding involves steaming it for several hours (the total preparation lasts around 8 hours…. And you cannot just leave it to cook, you need to be there). Traditionally, every member of the household also has to give it a stir, and then make a wish. Just like for Christmas cake, Christmas pudding needs time to mature and for all the aromas to mingle, so it is usually prepared at least a few weeks in advance.
Here is a video of the flaming of a Christmas pudding – just so you know what it is meant to look like when it is served:
And another interesting fact about Christmas pudding – it used to be a savoury dish invented to preserve meat. It progressively became sweeter and sweeter, and now it does not contain any meat at all!