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Christmas Pudding Recipe

A Christmas Day tradition close to our hearts at Museum Selection is the Christmas Pudding, although it was originally quite different from the rich steamed fruit pudding we enjoy today.

Known as ‘frumenty’, a 14th century mixture of beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices made up a porridge-like dish. It was traditionally eaten as a fasting meal, preparing for the Christmas festivities.

Frumenty gradually changed into a plum pudding in the 16th century; eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and even the addition of beers and spirits made it a thicker, more flavoursome dish. By 1650, it had become a traditional Christmas dessert; however, like so many Christmas festivities, it was banned by Puritans in 1664.

After tasting ‘Plum Pudding’ in 1714, King George I enjoyed it so much that he championed its inclusion in the Christmas meal. As with mince pies, it was in the Victorian period that the pudding became similar to what we know and love today.

There are several traditions surrounding the Christmas Pudding, especially when it comes to adding objects to it.

A Silver Coin

When making the pudding, a silver coin would be added. It was said to bring wealth and luck to whomever found the coin in their serving. While the pudding was being made, it was common for every member of the household to stir the pudding and make a wish. Traditionally it was a silver sixpence that was put into the mix. Nowadays, some use a pound coin instead.

This tradition seems to root from the early 1300s. A dried pea or bean was baked into the cake on the Twelfth Night of Christmas. The person who found the pea/bean was ‘king or queen’ for the night. The tradition evolved to a silver ring, silver farthing or penny, a threepenny and finally, a sixpence.

Other charms were also added, which held a special significance to whoever found them in their pudding.

Bachelor's Button

If a single man found a button in his serving, they would be a bachelor for the following year.

Old Maid's Thimble

If a single woman found a thimble in her serving, she would be a bachelorette for the following year.

A Ring

If a single person found a ring, it meant they would get married in the following year.


The wishbone would bring good luck to whomever found it in their serving.


A small anchor would symbolise safe harbour for the person who found it.

Sprig of Holly

The sprig of holly added to the top of the pudding is said to bring good luck and healing powers. This also serves as a reminder of the Crown of Thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified.

Flaming Pudding

Dousing the pudding with brandy or rum and setting it alight is a traditional ceremony associated with the Christmas pudding. This is said to be representative of Jesus’ love and power.

Another tradition, adopted by many, is Stir-Up Sunday. This marks the last Sunday before the season of Advent, originating from the Book of Common Prayer, with the words: ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.’ It has become custom for Christmas preparations to begin on Stir-Up Sunday, starting with the Christmas Pudding.

We’ve picked Mrs Beeton’s Yuletide Plum Pudding recipe to share with you, which serves 10-12 people. The recipe comes from the 1923 edition of her famous recipe book.

Source: https://travel-gourmet.com/

Take a look at the recipe below:


2 cups raisins

1 cup prunes, chopped

3/4 cup currants

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup Guinness stout

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup mixed candied citrus peel

1/4 cup finely chopped almonds

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs

8 tablespoons butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pinch of sea salt


1. Using a ceramic bowl, stir the raisins, prunes, currants, golden raisins and Guinness together. Tradition dictates that at this point, families should each have a go at stirring the mixture, making a wish while they do so.

2. The mixture should be sloppy – to test this, tap the spoon on the side of the bowl. If the mixture does not immediately fall off of the spoon, add a little more stout.

3. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.

4. Stir the flour, brown sugar, citrus peel, chopped almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice into the Guinness-fruit mixture.

5. Using a smaller bowl, combine bread crumbs, butter, eggs and sea salt before adding to the larger bowl and mixing thoroughly.

6. Place the batter into a generously buttered pudding mould or heat-proof bowl. Cover with a lid or parchment paper tied on with string.

7. Place the mould on a rack in a deep soup pot, with hot water filled to half-way up the sides of the mould. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat and steam for 2 to 2 and a half hours.

8. Allow the pudding to cool until just warm before removing it from the mould.

9. To serve – Decorate with holly and sifted confectioner’s sugar. Warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat and light it with a long match. Once at the dinner table, pour the flaming brandy over the pudding slowly.

Should you wish to save some pudding for left-overs, you can wrap it in foil and reheat in the oven the next day.

Whether you're making Christmas Pudding or Mince Pies we’d love to see your home-made bakes on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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