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Simple Boiled Plum Pudding

Simple Boiled Plum Pudding

Many people hear the word pudding today and they think about some little custardy stuff in a cup or something you buy at the grocery store in a box and mix it up with some milk. Pudding has a much deeper richer history. The word pudding is based on the old English words for gut or for stomach. The original puddings were actually meat or organ meats mixed with grains and cooked in stomachs or in intestines, much like modern day sausage or, if you’ve ever heard of a Scottish haggis. Haggises are like a true old pudding.

So these original puddings had their ingredients stuffed in a stomach and tied off then put in boiling water for several hours. It wasn’t until the early 17th century when they started making these puddings in cloth sacks instead of in stomachs, and we started seeing the ingredients change a lot, too. Some of the meats were taken out and more grains and other things put in, so we start to see an evolution in puddings, and they started to become very popular in the 17th and 18th century.

So today we’re going to be working on a simple boiled plum pudding.

Plum Pudding

  • 1 cup Flour
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 1 whole Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
  • 4 oz. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Mace
  • Ground Ginger
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar

Plum Pudding Sauce

  • 1 cup Sac Wine or Sherry
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Butter

Plum Pudding

You’re going to need a pot, at least a gallon or so, to boil the pudding in. You also need a pudding cloth, a piece of tightly woven fabric, something not soapy but nice and clean. Go ahead and toss your cloth in the pot of boiling water while we start mixing the batter. It’s going to stay there until the batter is all mixed up and ready to put inside of it.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_04_13;07)

First let’s start with our wet ingredients. We need 2 eggs separated. We want actually 1 whole egg and then just the yolk from the other one. With our egg and a half, we need to add about 4 ounces of milk, that’s half a cup. Whisk them up, get them mixed well, and set aside.

For the dry ingredients, in your mixing bowl add about 4 ounces of flour, about a cup. We used just plain rough ground wheat flour. We’re going to add some salt, not any great quantity, a teaspoonful or so. We’re also going to add our mace, again about a teaspoon full. The recipes aren’t real specific so it’s really how much you want, how much you like. Add some of the ground ginger, nutmeg, and finally we have about a tablespoon of sugar.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_06_03;16)

Now it’s time to get the butter into these dry ingredients. That’s going to be a little bit tricky. We’re going to use about 4 ounces of butter. You need to chop your butter up, put it in and then use the spoon to mush it around and then crumble it up to get it in there. Once you have that mixed pretty well, it’s time to add in the milk and eggs, then the raisins and currants.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_06_20;25)

So, we want to get a consistency that’s sort of a stiff battery kind of a drop biscuit consistency, not too stiff and not so runny that it runs around. If it’s too runny, add a little bit of flour. If it’s a little too stiff, add a little bit more milk until you get the right consistency.

Now let’s take our cloth out of the hot water. You want to be careful if it’s too hot. Lay it out on a bowl and flour the inside. Make sure that the whole inside of this is nice and floured. Now place the batter in the center, wrap it up and tie it off with another strip of fabric.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_07_20;17)

When you’re ready to put the pudding in, you want to make sure that the water is fully boiling. Then just gently drop it in. This is a smaller size pudding. It’s about a quarter of a normal recipe, so this one should take about 2 hours and maybe as much as 3 hours to cook. I wouldn’t cook it any more than that. You don’t really have a good way to know exactly when it’s done, because there isn’t a good way to check it, so you just have to know that this size takes about 2 hours. Usually, if it’s a full recipe, like most of the ones that use a pound of flour and a pound of suet, they are much bigger, almost a soccer ball size, and take quite a while to cook, 4 hours at least and probably more like 5 or 6.

Plum Pudding Sauce

When your pudding is almost done you need to get started on your sauce. You will need to add about a cup of our sac wine in a small pan or pipkin and then start to put in about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Just get these mixed in and warmed up.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_09_31;25)

Once it is warm, remove from heat and add about 3 tablespoons of butter in a little bit at a time. It’s best if your butter is cold so it won’t separate. You want to keep whisking and slowly incorporate the butter one piece at a time. As it gets incorporated, then you add the next little piece and just keep whisking the whole time.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_09_49;22)

Once the sauce is ready, set it away from the fire so it doesn’t heat up and separate and get the pudding out.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_10_51;11)

Place the pudding in cold water just to cool it off, then open it up turn it out onto a plate, slice it and gently add the sauce. Enjoy.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_11_27;26)

There are a lot of different variations of this that you can make, plain ones to go along with different meats, you can add vegetables, and you can change the grains. There are so many interesting things you can do with boiled puddings. I really encourage you to try one of these boiled puddings out. They were very popular for an 18th century dish.

Transcript of Video:

Puddings. Many people hear the word pudding today and what do they think about? They think about some little custardy stuff in a cup or something you buy at the grocery store in a box and mix it up with some milk. Pudding has a much deeper richer history. Today we’re going to look at boiled puddings from the 17th and 18th century.

So the word pudding is based on the old English words for gut or for stomach. In the original puddings were actually meat or organ meats mixed with grains and cooked in stomachs or in intestines, so much more like say, modern day sausage or, if you’ve ever heard of a Scottish haggis. Haggises are like a true old pudding.

So these original puddings had their ingredients stuffed in a stomach and then that tied off and they were put in boiling water and they were boiled for many hours. It wasn’t until the 17th century, the early 17th century, when there was a change, there was an evolution in this pudding. They started making these puddings in cloth sacks instead of in stomachs, and we started seeing the ingredients change a lot too. Some of the meats were taken out and more grains and some other things put in there, so we’re starting to see an evolution in puddings, and puddings started to become very popular in the 17th and 18th century.

Most of those puddings in the 18th century cookbooks call for 4 main ingredients. They called for flour. They called for milk. They called for eggs, and they called for some kind of fat. Usually suet is the one that’s most often referred to in the cookbooks. Suet can be very hard to come by in the United States. It’s not commonly used in cooking, so today we’re going to substitute butter for the suet.

So today we’re going to be working on a simple boiled plum pudding. Let’s get started.

So in addition to our four main ingredients, we’ve got some other smaller ingredients that we’re going to talk about now. We’ve got salt which is in most recipes. We also have a nutmeg we’re going to grate into that, which nutmeg is in all the different pudding recipes. We’ve got some mace which is in most of them which is related to nutmeg. We’ve got ground ginger. Ground ginger was inexpensive in the time period and a very commonly used spice. It’s a plum pudding and the plums aren’t plums, but they’re raisins in this. These have regular raisins. We also have some currants and currants in English cookbooks from the time period are actually just miniature seedless raisins from the Corinth region, and we also have some sugar that we’re going to add into this recipe.

So before we get going and start mixing things, we need to have some things happening in the background. I’ve got some water boiling here. We’re going to need a pot, at least a gallon or so, so that we can boil our pudding. We also need a pudding cloth, a piece of tightly woven fabric, something not soapy but nice and clean. I’m going to toss this in the pot and then we can start mixing. I’m just going to toss this cloth in. We’re going to leave it in here until I’ve got the batter all mixed up and ready to put inside of it.

Well, let’s start getting our ingredients mixed up. Let’s start with out wet ingredients. We need 2 eggs and we don’t want all of both of them, we want actually 1 whole egg and then just the yolk from the other one. This egg let’s separate out. We just want the yolk so I’m going to split this open and separate it. There we are.

So with our egg and a half here we’re going to add about 4 ounces of milk, and that should be about right. That’s half a cup. Let’s whisk this up and get these mixed well.

Okay, once we’ve got that mixed well, we’re going to set these wet ingredients aside.

So for our dry ingredients, we need our mixing bowl, we’re going to add about 4 ounces of flour, should be about a cup, and this is just plain rough ground wheat flour. We’re going to add some salt, not any great quantity, a teaspoonful or so. We’re also going to add our mace, again about a teaspoon full. The recipes aren’t real specific so it’s really a flavor, how much you want, how much you like, and some of the ground ginger. Now let’s grind up some of our fresh nutmeg.

Okay, looks about right, and finally we have about a tablespoon of sugar.

Now it’s time to get the butter into these dry ingredients. That’s going to be a little bit tricky. I’ve already chopped this butter up and I’m just going to put it in here and then use the spoon, mush it around and then crumble it up to get it in there.

In the period recipes, when they’re using suet, they actually were specific about not getting the suet too well mixed so that the suet would end up being in little pockets in the finished pudding and not spread completely throughout it. This, we want to get the butter pretty mixed up in here.

We’re going to use about 4 ounces of butter. Okay that looks pretty good. Now it’s time to mix in our milk and our eggs. Now it’s time to add our final ingredient here. We’re going to add our raisins and currants. Okay, there we are, and we’re going to mix those in well. So, we want to get a consistency that’s sort of a stiff battery kind of a drop biscuit consistency, not too stiff and not so runny that it runs around. If it’s too runny, add a little bit of flour. If it’s a little too stiff, add a little bit more milk. You’ll get to about this consistency. Let’s get the bag ready to put this in.

Now let’s take our cloth, we just brought it out of the hot water, you want to be kind of careful if it’s too hot, we’re going to lay it out on the bowl here and we’re going to flour the inside of our bag or our piece of cloth, so I’m going to take some flour and going to make sure that the whole inside of this is nice and floured. There we are, now we can get our batter here and put it in.

Now let’s wrap it up and we just need to tie this off. I’ve just got a little strip of fabric I’m going to use to tie it.

So, when we’re ready to put the pudding in, you want to make sure that the water is fully boiling. We’re going to drop this pudding in. This is a smaller size pudding. It’s about a quarter of a normal recipe, so this one should take about 2 hours and maybe as much as 3 hours to cook. I wouldn’t cook it any more than that. 2 hours is about right. You don’t really have a good way to know exactly when it’s done. I mean it’s not a good way to check it, so you just have to know that this size takes about 2 hours. That’s about it. Usually if it’s a full recipe size like most of the ones use a pound of flour and a pound of suet, those are much bigger, almost a soccer ball size, those take quite a while to cook, 4 hours at least and probably more like 5 or 6.

When our pudding is about done, it’s time to work on the sauce portion and we’ve got a nice red ware pipkin that we’re going to prepare our sauce in. Our sauce has 3 components. We’ve got some sac wine which is a white wine from Spain commonly known today as sherry. We need some sugar and then we’re going to add some butter, but first let’s put together the sac and the sugar and warm them up.

So, let’s warm up our pipkin. We’re going to add about a cup of our sac wine. There we go, and we’re going to start to put in our sugar. This is about 2 tablespoons of sugar we’re going to add in, and let’s get these mixed up and warmed up. So, let’s take our sac and our sugar off the fire now and now that it’s warm, we’re going to take and we’re going to add our butter in a little bit at a time. We’re going to stir it in, whisk it in, it’s best if your butter’s cold and that way it won’t separate. We’re going to add about 3 tablespoons of butter just a little bit at a time and keep whisking it up.

So you want to keep whisking and slowly incorporate the butter one piece at a time. As it gets incorporated, then you add the next little piece and just keep whisking the whole time.

That’s going to taste really good on this pudding. Our sauce we’re going to set that away from the fire so it doesn’t heat up and separate. Let’s get this pudding out.

Okay there it is.

Okay we’re going to put this in cold water here just to cool it off and now we can open it up.

Okay, let’s crack this open and I’ll turn it out onto a plate. Let’s see, ah, here, scissors.

And now a little sauce.

Mmm, this pudding’s really great. The sauce really lifts it up and the raisins are really, really good in this bready kind of a pudding mix. Very nice. You know, I’ve prepared some variations on this same basic recipe.

Here’s a cornmeal pudding. This one’s got butter but it’s a plain cornmeal pudding, like a cornmeal dumpling. Here’s a pudding that I did, it’s a plain bread pudding, but it’s got carrots in it though, and then here’s a final one over here. Here’s a suet and oatmeal. So there’s a lot of different interesting variations you can do, plain ones to go along with different meats, you can add vegetables, you can change the grains, so there’s so many interesting things you can do with boiled puddings. I really encourage you to try one of these boiled puddings out. Very popular for an 18th century dish.

So all the things you’ve seen here today, the utensils, the cooking equipment, even the clothing, all these things are available on our website or you can get our print catalog and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and hey, I’m going to go eat the rest of this pudding.

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