Though Christmas Day has gone many of us are reminded of it whenever we open our fridge! I’ve done quite well this year and have already mopped up most of the leftovers. Creativity and simplicity is the key. Something our ancestors knew as well.
For them Boxing Day was a perfect time to eat the leftovers. In Victorian times the wealthy would have a celebratory high tea – an informal late-afternoon meal. Traditionally the servants day off it was kept simple. They would take from the larder the leftover goose, beef, Yorkshire pudding, and potatoes and gather around to eat the leftovers.
But what about the Christmas Pudding (also known as Plum Pudding)? You can certainly serve it as it is. I’d have no objection as I adore anything with sultanas, raisins and/or currants. I think this particular taste comes from my grandmother. She always had one of those three in the first compartment of the fridge door, perfectly positioned so that you could grab a quick handful.
But for those of you looking for something a bit different, do what the Victorian’s did (and most likely those before them) . Make Monday’s Pudding. Mrs Beeton in her book of Household Management (1859-1861) had this recipe:
INGREDIENTS: The remains of cold plum-pudding, brandy, custard made with five eggs to every pint of milk.
Mode: Cut the remains of a good cold plum-pudding into finger-pieces, soak them in a little brandy, and lay them cross-barred in a mould until full. Make a custard with the above proportion of milk and eggs, flavouring it with nutmeg or lemon-rind; fill up the mould with it; tie it down with a cloth, and boil or steam it for an hour. Serve with a little of the custard poured over, to which has been added a tablespoonful of brandy.
Time: 1 hour. Average cost, exclusive of the pudding, 6d [According to The National Archive's that would have been £1.08 in 2005]. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.
I was concerned that with five eggs (mine were on the small side) and two cups of milk it would have a very strong eggy flavour but it didn’t . Next time I’d be less tentative with the brandy and the lemon rind (add this after you’ve beaten the eggs and milk, if you don’t the rind sticks to the beater and you loose some of it). You might notice from the photo I wasn’t totally successful in cutting neat ‘finger-pieces’. But it didn’t matter. What did matter though is buttering the mould - I must remember to do that next time to make it easier to get out in one piece!
I didn’t use a traditional mould, I had a stainless steel mixing bowl and used that. In the large pot I steamed it in I placed an upturned bowl so the pudding wasn’t sitting directly on the heat. I placed baking paper over the top, tied that with string, and then added a layer of tinfoil. Not traditional but it worked.
The end product
The recipe mentions ‘serve with a little of the custard poured over’. I’m not sure if that means the custard in the pudding (in which case it would need to come out liquid) or extra custard. The custard in the pudding I made was definitely too well set so I served it with additional custard.
So what was it like? Yum! Not too eggy at all. The custard seems to make the Christmas Pudding lighter so ideal for anyone who finds Christmas Pudding too heavy and/or rich.
But don’t just take my word for it. As the saying goes ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’. This is what was left within about ten minutes of my serving it!
By the way, it was also nice cold, then it reminded me a bit of Bread Pudding.