George I’s Christmas pudding
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)