The Bottom Line: Sweet facts about pudding!
The Full Story:
- In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, pudding refers to rich, fairly homogeneous starch- or dairy-based desserts such as rice pudding and Christmas pudding, or, informally, any sweet dish after the main course.
- The word pudding is believed to come from the French boudin, originally from the Latin botellus, meaning “small sausage,” referring to encased meats used in Medieval European puddings.
- The sweet and creamy confection we know as pudding emerged in the mid-19th century when an English chemist named Alfred Bird developed an egg-free custard powder. This remarkable invention made it very easy to produce a delicious pudding with the perfect consistency.
- Plum puddings at Christmas were brought back into holiday tradition by King George I, who affectionately became known as the “Pudding King.”
- During his reign in the 1600’s, the word “plum” was a universal reference to any dried fruit that was available. Most often the fruits available were raisins, which provide the backbone for most Christmas pudding recipes. Even though the term “Plum Pudding” is still used, rarely are dried plums (prunes) used in the holiday dessert.
- Figgy pudding has as many different names as it does ingredients. Figgy pudding is also known as plum pudding, plum porridge, Christmas pudding or steamed pudding. It is a British sweet with a history that goes back to as far as Shakespeare’s time in the mid-1600’s. In Victorian England, Christmas carolers were traditionally invited inside the home for some Christmas pudding, a cake-like dessert full of spices. Figgy pudding is a type of steamed pudding made out of figs, suet (raw mutton or beef fat) and various flavorings.
- A more formal reference to a “Figgy Pudding” is in a classic English cookbook written by Mrs. Beeton – who is considered the godmother of Anglo cuisine. In her pudding recipe she used figs, eggs and milk – a dissimilar dessert to what graces today’s holiday tables.