Irish Christmas Pudding

christmaspudding.jpg Christmas in Ireland without Irish Christmas Pudding would be like Thanksgiving in the States without turkey.  If you are traveling to Ireland for the Holidays, you will quickly be introduced to this well known desert.  I’m sure there will be much confusion, as people will expect a chocolate mousse-like substance similar to Jell-O Pudding or a sausage-like breakfast pudding found on plates with a Traditional Irish Breakfast .  However, Irish Christmas Pudding is drastically different.  It is a cross between a fruit cake and rum cake.

Irish Christmas Pudding is often called Plum Pudding, even though it contains no plums whatsoever.  This steamed or boiled pudding was first recorded as Christmas Pudding in 1858 in a novel by British author, Anthony Trollope.  The substitution of raisins as an ingredient in pies during medieval times probably resembled plums-hence the name.  Eventually, Christmas Plum Pudding became a popular desert in England during the Holidays.

It didn’t take long until Christmas Plum Pudding landed in Ireland.  It caught on quickly and evolved from its plainer boiled pudding cousins.  The Emerald Isle jazzed it up with fruit, spices, and of course in typical Irish fashion…, brandy and Irish whiskey. Since then, Irish Christmas Pudding has become one of the most traditional of all Irish Christmas dishes.

joseph-kenny-meadows-making-the-christmas-pudding-1848.jpg Irish Christmas Pudding is prepared on “Stir Up Sunday,” the Sunday before Advent.  According to tradition, everyone in the house was required to take turns stirring the Irish Christmas Pudding with a wooden spoon in a clockwise direction for luck.

Once Irish Christmas Pudding is made, it is left to ferment.  A few weeks later, when December 25th arrives, the pudding is placed upside down on a plate decorated with rich cream and leaves of holly.  Doused with even more brandy and cinnamon ice cream, the Irish Christmas Pudding is now ready to be served.

Who’s ready to dig in to the Irish Christmas Pudding?  Nollaig Shona Duit!


Ingredients for Irish Christmas Pudding
-3/4 Cup Raisins
-1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
-2 Ounces Candied Cherries/Halved
-2 Ounces Candied Pineapple/Chopped
-1/2 Cup Brandy
-1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
-3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
-1 Teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
-1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
-Pinch Ground Cloves
-1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
-4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
-4 Large Egg Whites
-1/3 Cup Pecan Halves
-2 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey

Directions for Irish Christmas Pudding
Combine the raisins and candied fruit in a bowl.  Add the brandy, cover, and leave for three days.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the egg whites and beat well.  Stir in half of the flour mixture, then half of the soaked fruit mixture.  Repeat, stirring in the remaining flour, fruit, brandy.  Add the pecans and then spoon the batter into a mold.  Cover with waxed paper and then cover tightly with foil.

Place the mold in a stockpot, so the bottom of the mold does not come in contact with the bottom of the pot.  Add enough hot water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the mold.  Cover and steam on medium-low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the pudding from the pot, invert, and then drizzle the whiskey over the top.  Slice and serve warm.

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