Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Last Minute Preparation Has Its Place, Too...

At least in my world. When it came to Christmas Pudding, Gran continued an old English tradition where the mixing of The Pud was a yearly ritual for every member of the family, and when I say every, I mean every. No matter how long it took to waylay both grown ups and small fry to stir the mix three times and make a wish, The Pud sat and patiently waited until all had taken their turn.
By the time a hand written version of her recipe came to me, it had been honed by the years, and the cooks of the family, into a pretty good pud-producing list of ingredients. Except for one. Beef suet. As family butchers morphed into impersonal supermarket meat operatives (!) it became harder to find chunks of this strange looking, slightly stringy stuff, and did we want to eat it, anyway? It used to take for ever to grate it into tiny flakes - I know, because it was often my job and it used to try my patience as a small girl.
Thanks to Atora, this chore faded in the mists of time, and even better, they began to produce something they laughingly call 'Vegetable Suet'. Be that as it may, it works fine, so my Puds have been vegetarian ever since.

One year I discovered Escoffier's recipe for Christmas Pudding, and was both amazed, and chuffed, to see how closely it resembled my Gran's. I think the only major differences were the amount of breadcrumbs he used in relation to the other ingredients, and the addition of allspice, which is quite different from the mixed spice found in Gran's.

But I seldom get to make The Pud until Christmas is nearly upon us, and the aroma of one steaming away on the stove has become as much a necessary Christmas smell as the pine needles I spoke of the other day. Those among you who lack either the interest or the culinary skill to produce your own, have been missing one of life's treats! Maybe this will spur you on...

Christmas Pud

Some people buy their Pudding,
but for true old fashioned feel,
I like to mix and steam my own;
that has the most appeal.

I used to use a recipe
that first came from my Gran.
But then I found Escoffier's
and Gran's an also ran.

His is light and airy
with a special touch of spice,
but not so much it spoils the taste -
it's really uber nice.

If this tempts anybody's taste buds,
then email me today -
and I'll pass on all my secrets
for That Pud served Christmas Day.

P.S. I have details that can accommodate different quantities, from a single portion to a mammoth family feast, so nobody need miss out on this culinary delight!


  1. oh jinksy i have never made a christmas pudding or christmas cake. i've always left that the second most noble task of christmas to my grandma (now flown away) and now my mum - who i understand has banged out this year's versions already )thank goodness!) i expect that if i don't learn soon, the entire tradition will be handed over to some store-bought replica whioch as you know, i know, and everyone reading this knows is a tasy but unworthy substitute for the pud or cake with love in it. have a lovely pudding scented day. steven

  2. Please and thank you, Jinksy. Having never tasted it, I hope there is still time to make it before the big day. A round dozen will sit at this table.

  3. Recipes and cooking! Somehow it is only the festive season that makes me want to venture to the kitchen... when family is around or about to reach me.. this year is going to be such... :)

  4. Although my ancestry is English, we have lost the tradition of the pud. Can't remember if any of my grands did this although I have a vague niggling.

  5. Hello Jinksy,

    I'm afraid I've been eating shop bought for years! My Grandma used to be the pudding queen and, invariably, we would be eating a pud that had been made twelve months previously. Nothing like it!

  6. would love to give this a try, mail away...

  7. no thank you very much, Jinksy. I can think of no other pudding that I like as little as christmas pudding. All that sickly sweet, gooey, tooth-pulling stuff fair makes my stomach turn.
    For years I've been polite, bought a "luxury brand" one, steamed the damn thing for hours on christmas morning, slathered horrid creamy alcoholic butter over the top, even set the blasted thing alight, but no more. Last year I bought a panettone christmas pudding (I realise that's sacrilege) and, glory be, I ate it without once pulling a face.
    If the family once again insists on "the Pud", sucks boo to them!

  8. I made mine about three weeks ago - I make them for various friends and family members too - they are so easy and so much more tasty. I pay homage to Saint Delia!

  9. Look for my email, Pen. I'd love the recipe.

  10. Oh, I'm not sure my culinary skills are up to the task...but I'd like to try!!!! Delightfully playful poem, dearest Jinks!!! Love it!!! Love you, Janine XO

  11. It sounds intriguing but I know I'd be in big weight gain trouble if I made it, so I'll just tell you how much I enjoyed this calorie-free post instead. :)

  12. E-Mail away. I will get it done before next Christmas. Apparently from your posts and comments it can be frozen.

  13. Jinksy...I LOVE reading all your descriptions, and truly believe that in another life, I just MUST have lived in your-part-of-the-world. I've never tasted it, but read about it in stories and poems since I was little. Thank you for the delightful poem...and the memories~

  14. My MIL used to make this pudding every year, but we always ate the one she made the year before.....she would pour brandy over it and light it then would serve it with whipped cream and it was delicious.....:-) Hugs

  15. I have never had pud. It seems sad, doesn't it?

  16. For several years now I have made a pudding which cooks in the oven.It is much easier that all that steaming!

  17. I'm kinda tempted (family tradition and all that) even though I'm another who never fancies the pud. Just not sure if all the steaming would be pleasant as it's pretty hot around here at the mo. . .

  18. Jinksy, I very much enjoyed your "Pud" poem, and would love to have the recipe. To my remembrance, I've never tasted Christmas Pudding but am looking forward to it. Do you include directions for the steaming, as well? :)

  19. I'll let a small cat out of the bag - MY WIFE's last name, in Japanese, means "pudding". She works with a number of Asian women and when one of the Japanese women heard her name she started laughing (in that cute hand-over-the-mouth way some Japanese women have.) MY WIFE asked her why, and she told her :-)

  20. you must realize thia alreday but we are still twins....i did a christmas pudding blog also and yet mine is vastly more colorful and protein rich....very easy recipie, coagulated bllod mixed with bits of sausage, and other meaty scaps

  21. Just came by to see if you'd posted any new brilliance my dear, AFJinksy ;-) Love you! Janine XO


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