How to make a good old-fashioned plum pudding from the 1800s
I have read lately (but I think not in your column) a piteous plea for the Christmas plum pudding of yore. The petitioner is a man who cries out:
I am positively homesick for the sight of a good rich plum pudding, such as I had when I was a boy! I have tried them In the best hotels and restaurants In the city, but they haven’t the same taste! Don’t you suppose that in this great town there is some woman who has not forgotten how to put one together? I want one so full of fruit and other good things that there is little room for the dough.
Out of sheer compassion for the complainant, I am sending you a recipe one hundred years old for just the kind of Christmas plum pudding he is longing for.
Old-fashioned plum pudding recipe
The ingredients must be measured in coffee cup:
Four eggs beaten light, one cup each of dark sugar, molasses, kidney suet, bread crumbs, milk, blackberry or grape jam, three cups of flour, one pound of currants, two pounds of raisins, half pound of citron, half cup of walnut meats (if desired), one teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, and one-half teaspoonful of cloves. Salt to taste.
Grind suet, bread, and citron through the meat chopper. Mix the dry ingredients together. Sift a teaspoonful of soda and one of baking powder three times with the flour, and incorporate these ingredients with the beaten eggs and molasses, milk and jam. Dredge the fruit with a cup of the flour.
Mix all lightly together. Steam in molds or cans four hours, or boil in a bag if you prefer. If you use the bag a large iron kettle is best. The water must be at a fast boil when the pudding bag goes in.
The pudding is best when it has ripened for a month. It will keep for an indefinite period. Reheat on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning. No good pudding sauce, however fine, can add to the lusciousness, but use whatever you like in that line.
If you make the pudding according to this recipe — ‘your content will be your best having.’
If you measure ingredients in a tea cup, use one egg the less. If in a quart bowl, use two more.
It is a genuine pleasure to contribute this recipe. As I have said, it is a century old. It has been in our family for generations. I have used it for forty years.