National Plum Pudding Day is February 12
National Plum Pudding Day is February 12th – So what exactly is plum pudding? I was curious too. I do not think I have ever even tried it…what does it even look like? and what is the history of plum pudding…
Fact one – there are no plums in plum pudding… and two, it is usually served around Christmas and is also known as Christmas Pudding – but why February 12th – isn’t that a little past Christmas? Yes….
Then I found out this information about plum pudding:
“Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.
During the Puritan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as “sinfully rich.”
Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor.
By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings.
It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.” Source: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cake/plumpuddingTips.htm
I found this authentic old fashioned recipe at CDKitchen.com which I share here, and I think you will need a complete notebook to write down this list of ingredients – jeez, that list of ingredients are long!
1 1/2 cup soft Breadcrumbs
1 cup seedless Raisins
1 cup Currants
1 cup chopped Dates
1 cup chopped Cherries (red & green)
1 cup roughly chopped pitted Prunes
1 cup cooked Apple chunks
1/4 cup of Lemon Peel (or some lemon juice)
1/2 cup chopped dried Apricots, Apples etc
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup butter
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Bicarb of Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Mace
1/2 cup ground Suet
1/2 cup brown Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1 cup Brandy
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Marmalade
Mix fruit, nuts and breadcrumbs and set aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, bicarb, suet, salt and spices. Cream butter and sugar well and add beaten eggs slowly beating well constantly. Blend in molasses. Mix milk and brandy together and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the flour mix beating well as you add. Finally fold in the fruit mix well and the marmalade. Add a little gravy browning mixing well to make it a dark colour if necessary. Grease a pudding basin and fill 2/3 full with the pudding mixture. Cover with a layer of greaseproof paper then aluminum foil and tie well (Strong elastics work well but put three on in case of breakage !)
I use the trivet from the pressure cooker in the bottom of a deep pot. Fill with a couple of inches of water and put the basin in and the lid on. Steam for 6 hours….it’s important of course not to get any water into the basin so bring to the boil slowly and keep the water level low enough not to boil up. After 6 hours take out and uncover straight away to let the surface dry well (Leave it overnight loosely covered if necessary – it must NOT have a wet surface) When cold wet the surface with about 1/4 cup of brandy (this adds flavour but also sterilizes the surface so it does not mold while seasoning) Cover with a layer of greaseproof and a layer of foil again trying tightly and put it in the cold room for about 3+ weeks to season and blend the fruit flavours. When preparing – steam again 4 hours very gently without changing the cover.
Also on this day in history for February 12th:
–St. Julian the Hospitaler, patron of travelers and innkeepers.
1791 Peter Cooper was born. American inventor and founder of the ‘Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.’ He also obtained the first American patent for the manufacture of gelatin. In 1895, a cough syrup manufacturer, Pearl B. Wait purchased the patent and developed a packaged gelatin dessert. Wait’s wife, May David Wait named it Jell-O. (I’m jiggling while reading this)
1809 Charles Darwin was born. English naturalist who developed the ‘theory of evolution,’ inspired in large part by his visit to the isolated Galapagos Islands. His works include ‘Origin of Species’ and ‘The Descent of Man.’
1872 Silas Noble and James P. Cooley of Massachusetts patented a toothpick making machine. (How cool is that?)
1881 Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was born (according to the new Gregorian calendar; January 31 on the Julian calendar). A famous dessert of Australian or New Zealand origin was named for her.
See October 4 for more information on the calendar adjustment.
1935 (Georges-) Auguste Escoffier died. “the king of chefs and the chef of kings.”
1961 ‘Shop Around’ by ‘The Miracles’ becomes Motown Records first million selling single.
1973 The first metric distance road signs in the U.S., were erected between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. (fail)
1976 The popular food coloring, Red Dye No. 2, was banned by the FDA because studies had shown it might cause cancer. Red M&Ms disappeared for 11 years because of the ban.
2000 Charles M. Schulz died. American cartoonist, best known for the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip.