If YOU have traditions associated with your Christmas Pudding, please add the details in my contact page, and I will add them here, with acknowledgements of course!
Lynette Winsborough (of Vegetable Suet info) writes; We too stir the Christmas pudding before it is cooked. It is something I learned at boarding school in England when I was six years old. Everyone of the pupils, about 120, were sent to the kitchens to stir the pudding and make a wish. It was so exciting, everybody lined up.
Linda Arnold-Fabre wrote to me; My family lives in Rhode Island, USA and we have been making plum pudding yearly since my great-grandmother arrived here from England in 1904-we understand her mother made plum pudding yearly and so on...(There is a family story that one of these "grandmothers" cooked for Queen Victoria). Your recipe is the closest that I have seen to our family recipe. We use a Kitchen-Aid to grind the suet and add bread simultaneously to ensure that it does not get stuck. Also, because we make such a large amount, we use a roaster oven to steam the puddings. This works very well. Lastly, we often use a lemon sauce for a topping which is something I have not seen listed on any of the websites that I have visited.
I was happy to hear that someone else was concerned about the suet content, but our conclusion was similar to yours. This is a rich dessert which should only be eaten in small quantities. A woman from the historic Sturbridge village in Massachusetts told me that the suet adds taste-what can you substitute for that?
I appreciated you tip about reheating the puddings. We had been microwaving to re-heat. How silly, we spent all that time and energy preparing such a lovely dessert only to spoil it by using a microwave!
Somewhere along the way, our family stopped adding coins to the puddings (perhaps when we started microwaving!). However, we always have each family member help to mix the pudding once all the ingredients have been added with their (washed) hands. Before removing your hands, you make a wish for the family. There must be something about doing this because we are truly a blessed family! Happy Holidays!
Editors own traditions; Each member of my family (Londoners) one at a time, always stirred the pudding (before cooking of course), clockwise, and made a wish.
The pudding was served with a dash of warmed (otherwise it won't light) Brandy and lighted. My (ex) wife Rebecca, who is Australian, but has a strong English (London) heritage, has a family tradition as follows;
When the pudding is served at the table, as usual, a small amount of warmed Brandy is poured over the top and then lit, but, the variation is the addition of a Sultana for each person present, minus one Sultana, placed on top of the pudding prior to the Brandy.
All wait for the Brandy to be lit, then every person, whilst the flames are still alight, grab one Sultana each, make a wish, and then eat the Sultana! (you've got to be quick, or you miss out!) It's not as dangerous as it sounds, if you do it quickly, and you are only adding 1 tablespoon of Brandy.
There is also a rhyme said during the "grab for the Sultana" which I have not been able to record so far, but, when I do, it'll be updated here.
(See above) MESSAGE; Could this be your family tradition of Grab the Sultana?
The ancient game of snapdragon has been part of English Christmases for over 300 years. Participants are egged on by a chant, part of which goes,"Take care you don't take too much, Be not greedy in your clutch, snip, snap, dragon!" The dragon in this game is: Flames of burning brandy
Admin note; thanks Corinne!
The Sunday nearest November 30th, (St. Andrew’s Day), is sometimes known as ‘Stir-up Sunday’ it is believed because the Anglican prayer book reading for that day begins, ‘Stir up we beseech Thee, O Lord, the will of thy faithful people.’ this is, by tradition, pudding making day.