Mum's maternal grandmother was born in 1863, She died when I was about 7 but I still remember her. A tiny woman, with white hair in a bun, and old fashioned long skirts. She had 6 sons (all over 6' tall!) and Nana (who was only 5'11"...).
Nana said Granma used to make this pudding in the 1890s to take on picnics - not just for Christmas. Mum said Nana used to make it for picnics too. But now we just make it for Christmas. Possibly the recipe is even older than Granma's day - maybe she got it from HER mother.
And the best thing about it is you can start it tonight, boil it up tomorrow and have it for Christmas lunch. It isn't one to hang about for months getting riper - it already is ripe!
(And these are Santa's Little Helpers - Trevor (the recycled dog) and Jake).
Granma's Christmas Pudding
I cup each currants, raisins, sugar
2 Cups plain flour
1/4 C lemon peel (mixed peel)
1 t each cinnamon and mixed spice, pinch salt
Mix together in a separate bowl:
1 t bicarb soda
1 T dripping (butter etc)
1 1/2 C boiling water
Stir till butter dissolves and add to dry ingredients.
Boil 4 hours in cloth.
(Pour boiling water over cloth in colander, sprinkle with plain flour, spoon in pudding mix and tie with string - use kitchen stuff not poly/nylon. This makes a yummy skin on the outside of the pudding.
It is ACE cold with custard, icecream, cream, and equally nice hot.
If you are putting 3d and 6d in boil them first to sterilise. You can't use decimal money as it is too crappy.