Christmas Pudding – We Almost Never Knew You!
Our beloved Christmas pudding became a customary Christmas dessert in the mid-17th century, but did you know we almost lost the opportunity to enjoy it for ourselves? Puritans in England attempted to permanently ban the humble Christmas pudding, citing that it was apparently “sinfully rich” and “unfit for God-fearing people”.
They wanted to shift Christmas from a “feast day” to a “fast day” instead (nooo)! It wasn’t until 1714, when King George (who clearly had great taste in desserts), re-established it as part of the Christmas meal.
The Twelfth Night
The twelfth night refers to the Christmas pudding that was eaten to celebrate the official end of Christmas celebrations (on the 12th night of Christmas). A dried pea or even a bean was baked into the pudding, but this evolved to be a silver token or coin instead (we prefer the latter, personally).
During the Victorian era, a new tradition emerged. Christmas puddings were made on the Sunday before advent, four to five weeks before Christmas. This day became commonly known as “Stir-up Sunday”. Everyone in the household gave the mixture a stir and made a wish while doing so.
A Touch of Silver
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the act of adding silver coins into Christmas pudding. This tradition came from the notion that whoever finds the coin in their pudding serve can keep the coin, AND has the added bonus of “good luck” for the new year ahead. Over time, what began with a single coin evolved to include several coins to share the luck around.
Variations on the currency of Christmas Pudding
Many variations of the silver coin token have been baked into Christmas puddings over the years, including:
- Silver crown: the person who finds the token in their serve of pudding was said to be king or queen for that night
- Horseshoe or Wishbone: it is believed the finder will have good luck for the coming year
- Silver thimble: thrift – the finder will have good fortune and wealth for the new year
- Anchor charm: safety and protection for the finder
- A ring: the finder will get married in the next year
The Currency of Christmas Pudding
The coin originally used was a penny, then a sixpence. When decimal currency was introduced in countries such as Australia, it had an unsavoury effect on this age-old tradition. The new minerals used in the production of the updated currency gave a metallic taste to puddings (and also turned the coin green once cooked).
Preparing a Silver Coin for Use in a Christmas Pudding
As mentioned above, most modern coins contain nickel and/or brass, which can react with the ingredients in the pudding. For those who want to honour this age-old tradition, we recommend using specially-made coin tokens that are safe for use. You can easily slip one (or more, at different angles) into your delicious pre-made pudding prior to serving and no one will ever know they weren’t baked in!
If you’d prefer to use your own silver coins instead, do so with caution and clean properly. Firstly, clean and sterilise each coin (the acid in cola will help restore the shine). Then immerse in a pan of boiling water for ten minutes and finally wrap the coins with baking or greaseproof paper.
Warning: whatever token you choose to include, ensure you warn your pudding eaters in advance to avoid anyone accidently biting off more than they can chew! It’s always safest to avoid any inclusion if there is any risk (or children) eating the pudding.
Finding the Perfect Christmas Pudding
Christmas pudding really has come a long way! The Pudding Lady offers this must-have option on your Christmas table in a variety of sizes (and in gluten free and vegan options too). Feel free to explore the full range here. Our puddings are available in gift bags and hampers as gifts, in the traditional round mould or a signature log.
If you’re like us, it’s not just about the rich taste, but also about the incredible history and the timeless, memorable experiences that this pudding helps create with family and friends who come together to celebrate with it.