Christmas or plum pudding is often the highlight of Christmas lunch in my family - just as it is for families throughout Australia and the UK. If you're looking to add a new and interesting tradition to your American Christmas menu, I can heartily recommend it.
Unlike other recipes for Christmas or plum pudding, this one is very quick and easy to make - and it's not overly rich or heavy either. You can make it on Christmas day (or even serve it up at Thanksgiving).
The unusual recipe came about during the Great Depression and it tells you something about how much we love it that almost 100 years later my family still makes it every Christmas.
So in the interests of making your Christmas dinner menu tastier and more fun, here is my family's easy plum pudding recipe. You're welcome!
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About our Christmas pudding
This simple Christmas pudding recipe has been in my family for generations. It originated during the Great Depression when people were poor and certain foods were scarce. As a result it has some unusual ingredients: tea for flavoring instead of brandy or other alcohol and it's egg free.
But it tells you something about how delicious it is that even in times of plenty we're still making the very same recipe year after year. My family prefers it to heavy traditional plum pudding recipes.
It's always the highlight of our Christmas dinner, particularly when dished up with my Nana's recipe for indulgent brandy custard.
If you're interested, learn more about the history and traditions of Christmas pudding on our Australian blog. You may discover some surprising things.
Vegan Christmas pudding
Yes, this recipe can easily be made vegan if you or any of your guests are so inclined. While the original recipe has some butter in it, this can easily be swapped out for another oil. This results in a vegan Christmas plum pudding recipe, given the original recipe has no eggs.
Of course our recommended brandy custard is definitely not vegan. You may find a vegan version online.
Making Christmas pudding
Unlike other Christmas pudding recipes this one is best cooked on Christmas Day rather than weeks in advance.
To save time we often mix up the ingredients the day before and put it uncooked into a steaming bowl which we store in the fridge. That means it simply needs to be put on to cook while you're eating Christmas dinner and it should be ready in time for your dessert.
Alternatively you could instead cook it a day or two before, but I find it tastes best of all when cooked fresh on the day.
Serving Christmas pudding
How best to serve your delicious pudding?
You can serve the pudding with a sprig of holly on top and you can even pour brandy over it and set it flaming for some extra drama when serving it at the dining table - you might even get a round of applause as was traditional.
Otherwise you can keep it low key by plating it up in the kitchen and delivering steaming plates of plum pudding to each of your guests.
The Christmas pudding is perfect for pairing with indulgent brandy custard or brandy butter as the pudding itself won't overwhelm the rich flavours of these decadent sauces.
You can even add Christmas coins
It's a long-standing tradition in Australia and the UK to add silver Christmas coins, charms or tokens to Christmas pudding.
Why do people do this? Well, whoever finds a Christmas coin in their slice of Christmas pudding is said to have good luck and wealth in the following year - and that can't be a bad thing.
However, only silver Christmas coins should be used rather than modern base metal currency. Also you should never serve plum pudding with coins in it to small children or without alerting your guests to their presence.
Putting coins in your plum pudding is a lovely way to add some fun and special memories to your Christmas day. If you exchange the silver coins for real money you'll get them back to use them for years to come, making a perfect family heirloom.
Our sets of six Christmas coins are exclusively available in our Australian online store. They are made from solid sterling silver and are large, easy to find and each one features a unique vintage Christmas card illustration.
Easy Christmas pudding recipe
Christmas pudding ingredients:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
- 2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ cups dried mixed fruit
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice (or use pumpkin spice)
- 1 heaped cup sugar
- 2 cups cold tea (strained or from teabags)
Mix all dry ingredients with two cups of cold tea and the melted butter.
For good luck and in keeping with an old Christmas tradition you can ask family members to each stir the pudding mixture and make a wish.
Once the ingredients are well mixed, pour them into a greased steamed pudding tin with a lid. Alternatively use calico fabric and tie it with string and place the calico bag into a large heat-resistant bowl and cover with foil. The mixture can also be cooked as two smaller puddings if preferred.
Fill a large saucepan half way with water. Place the pudding into the saucepan and put the saucepan onto the stovetop. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce it to a simmer to steam the Christmas pudding for 1½ hours.
Once the time is up test the pudding with a metal skewer - if it comes out without pudding stuck to it, it’s ready to eat.
Serve your Christmas pudding:
We recommend you press your Christmas coins into the pudding at this point or after slicing up the pudding. Aside from avoiding scorching the silver during cooking, this method is best if you have young children as guests: for safety their slices should not contain coins.
Serve slices of delicious hot pudding in bowls or on small plates. The Christmas pudding is best topped with dollops of brandy custard or brandy butter.
Serves 8-10 people. If there's any left it should keep in the fridge for around five days.
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