Hard to Find Wines partners with Fresh & Lush, an excellent catering company, for our events at High Grosvenor. We asked Tom Kearns of Fresh & Lush if he would part with his secret Christmas pudding recipe so we could include it in this blog post and pair it with a few wines. We are delighted that he agreed!
It turns out that Tom's secret recipe is actually an old recipe from the 1861 Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, more commonly known today as “Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook”. A true classic amongst cookbooks, most of the recipes were illustrated with coloured engravings. It was the first book to show recipes in the format that we still use today.
In addition to cooking, entries include tips on how to deal with servants’ pay and children’s health. It was an immediate best-seller, selling 60,000 copies in its first year and selling nearly a total of two million copies up to 1868. It can still be found in some homes today.
Here is Mrs Beeton’s recipe for Christmas Pudding, followed by two wines we suggest as suitable pairings.
CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING
1–1/2 lb of raisins
1/2 lb of currants
1/2 lb of mixed peel
3/4 lb of bread crumbs
3/4 lb of suet
1 wineglassful of brandy
1. Stone and cut the raisins in halves, but do not chop them; wash, pick, and dry the currants, and mince the suet finely; cut the candied peel into thin slices, and grate down the bread into fine crumbs.
2. When all these dry ingredients are prepared, mix them well together; then moisten the mixture with the eggs, which should be well beaten, and the brandy.
3. Stir well, that everything may be very thoroughly blended, and press the pudding into a buttered mould; tie it down tightly with a floured cloth, and boil for 5 or 6 hours. It may be boiled in a cloth without a mould, and will require the same time allowed for cooking.
4. As Christmas puddings are usually made a few days before they are required for table, when the pudding is taken out of the pot, hang it up immediately, and put a plate or saucer underneath to catch the water that may drain from it.
5. The day it is to be eaten, plunge it into boiling water, and keep it boiling for at least 2 hours; then turn it out of the mould, and serve with brandy-sauce.
6. On Christmas Day a sprig of holly is usually placed in the middle of the pudding, and about a wineglassful of brandy poured round it, which, at the moment of serving, is lighted, and the pudding thus brought to table encircled in flame.
Time 5 or 6 hours the first time of boiling; 2 hours the day it is to be served.
Mrs Beeton's recipe is a decidedly more complicated recipe than what we are accustomed to today, but acquiring great wines to go with a Christmas pudding are much easier! Here are our suggested pairings for whichever Christmas pudding you might be serving this year.
While it is difficult for our vintage Port lovers to rave over any tawny, this really has the quality and complexity to justify listing. Tawny is one of the few growth areas in the Port market and this competes with the best. Although averaging 8 years, a small amount of young wine is added to the final blend, which gives this a fresher taste and colour than most Tawnies of this age.
With a brown-tawny colour, presents a nose densely marked by the dried fruit aromas, where stands-out the delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity and impetus tannic which culminates with a long and elegant finish.
Perfect as a gift this wine comes in a Barros presentation box.
If a Vintage Port is what you are looking for this Christmas, visit our website for our selection.