Ge­orge I’s Christ­mas pud­ding

BBC History Magazine - - Miscellany -

King Ge­orge I was served plum pud­ding as part of his first Christ­mas din­ner as monarch, on 25 De­cem­ber 1714 – or so the leg­end goes. Whether it’s true or not, Ge­orge I came to be nick­named the ‘Pud­ding King’ for his sup­posed as­so­ci­a­tion with the dish.

It wasn’t un­til the 1830s, though, that the tasty mix of flour, fruits, suet, su­gar and spices was re­ferred to as ‘Christ­mas Pud­ding’ and be­came as­so­ci­ated with the fes­tive pe­riod.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the pud­ding would have been made and boiled in a cloth rather than a basin, then hung up to dry to en­hance its flavour.

This recipe makes enough for three pud­dings – to make one large one I’d use half the amount of in­gre­di­ents. I also used prunes in­stead of plums.


680g finely shred­ded suet (or sub­sti­tute fat) 450g eggs (weighed in their shells) 450g plums or prunes 225g mixed peel 450g small raisins 450g sifted flour 450g de­mer­ara su­gar 450g brown bread­crumbs 1 tsp mixed spice ½ grated nut­meg 2 tsp salt ½ pint fresh milk 1 very large wine glass of brandy 1 lemon, juiced


Mix the dry in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a bowl with the lemon juice and brandy. Beat the eggs to a froth and add the milk, then add to the dry mix­ture.

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to stand for 12 hours, or overnight, in a cool place.

Pour the mix­ture into a greased pud­ding mould (or moulds, if mak­ing more than one pud­ding) and steam for eight hours. Wrap, and store till needed in a cool dry place.

Steam for a fur­ther two hours be­fore serv­ing with brandy but­ter or cus­tard.


“A boozy fes­tive treat”

Dif­fi­culty: 3/10 Time: 12 hours (to­tal prep and stand­ing time)

Recipe from Din­ner at

Buck­ing­ham Palace by Charles Oliver (John Blake, new edn 2018)

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