mr fezziwig s ball hand colored etching by john leech from a christmas carol by dickens 1842

“In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered—flushed, but smiling proudly—with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.” — A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843.

A 19th century Christmas feast would not be complete without a Christmas pudding. Comprised of dried fruit, suet, egg, flour, and other basic ingredients, it was a popular holiday dish in both the Regency and Victorian eras. Naturally, there are many historical recipes available for such an old favorite, but when looking for the simplest, and the best, you need search no further than Mrs. Beeton’s 1861 Book of Household Management. Below is what Mrs. Beeton refers to as “A Plain Christmas Pudding for Children.” It is the most basic historical Christmas pudding recipe I could find and perfect for those of us whose only experience with cooking a Christmas pudding comes from reading about Mrs. Cratchit fretting over the copper in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

isabella beeton recipe for christmas pudding 1861Recipe for Christmas Pudding from Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1861

If you find the above children’s recipe too basic, Mrs. Beeton also provides the traditional recipe for Christmas Plum Pudding – complete with brandy. This pudding is much more similar to the type served by Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol.

christmas plum pudding from beetons book of household management 1861 recipe 2Recipe for Christmas Plum-Pudding from Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1861

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday with your own families (both human and animal!). I leave you with an image of the very first commercially produced Christmas card, introduced by Sir Henry Cole in 1843:

the worlds first commercially produced christmas card made by henry cole 1843

Top image: Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball, etching by John Leech from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843.

This post originally appeared on mimimatthews.com and is reprinted here with permission.

Mimi Matthews writes both non-fiction history and traditional historical romances set in 19th century England. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde, Savvy Authors, and English Historical Fiction Authors, and is currently represented by Serendipity Literary Agency in New York. Her articles on 19th-century romance, literature, and history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine.

Mimi’s first non-fiction book, titled The Pug who Bit Napoleon and Other Animal Tales from the 18th and 19thCenturies, will be released by Pen and Sword Books (UK) in late 2017. Her second non-fiction book, titled A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, will be released by Pen and Sword in 2018.

In her other life, Mimi is an attorney with both a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She resides in California with her family – which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

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