Suet? In Pudding?

  1. Hello. Today, this woman from England is visiting a resident friend of hers. She is explaining in detail this "Plum Pudding" that she has made for Christmas. I came in last on the conversation and didn't hear the suet part. Isn't suet fat? She then explains that you have to clean all the membranes out! Membranes?
    Is there any other way to make plum pudding without suet?

    Last edit by shygirl on Nov 29, '02
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    About shygirl

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 1,897; Likes: 2


  3. by   sunnygirl272

    Plum Pudding


    Why is Plum Pudding called Plum Pudding when there are no plums in it?
    In the 17th century, plums referred to raisins or other fruits.

    (1) Defination of "plum" in the Oxford English Dictionary
    A dried grape or raisin as used for puddings, cakes, etc. This use probably arose from the substitution of raisins for dried plums or prunes as an ingredient in plum-broth, porridge, etc., with retention of the name 'plum' for the subsituted article." The OED then goes on to list occurances of this use in literature. Samuel Johnson defined a "plum" as "raisin; grape dried in the sun."

    (2) Some information from A Gourmet´s Guide by John Ayto
    "Dried plums, or prunes, were popular in pies in medieval times, but gradually in the sixteenth and seventeenth century they began to be replaced by raisins. The dishes made with them, however, retained the term plum, and to this day the plum pudding, plum cake, plum duff etc. remind us of their former ingredients." And yes, the raisins were sometimes called plums in the 19th century, but only when they were in a plum pudding or plum cake ...

    Plumb is another spelling of plum. Prune is actually derived from the same word as plum - the Latin word was pruna, which changed in the Germanic languages into pluma. But the terms were quite confused in the 16th and 17th centuries and people talked about growing prunes in their garden.


    History of Plum Pudding
    Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.

    During the Putitan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as "sinfully rich."

    Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor.

    By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings.

    It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.

    Quote from The Gourmets Guide
    "Nowadays served only at Christmas, and so called exclusively Christmas pudding, this was formerly a common year-round pudding (albeit not always as rich as the festive version); indeed, in 1748 Pehr Kalm, a Swedish visitor to England, noted that "the art of cooking as practised by Englishmen does not extend much beyond roast beef and plum pudding". And in 1814, one of the traditional English delicacies introduced to the French by Antoine Beauvilliers in his L´art du cuisiner was plomb-poutingue."
  4. by   ptnurse
    The dictionary says that suet is "hard fat of cattle or sheep, used in making tallow" Think I will pass on the plum pudding recipe.
  5. by   sunnygirl272
    gag a maggot!!!
  6. by   NurseDennie
    Geeze, Sunny! That's a pretty icky mental picture for one of my favorite Christmas things.

    First off, pudding in England isn't the kind of creamy mooshy stuff we have here. It's more like a cake... well, it's not so much like an American cake. What's it like? Well, it's just like itself. (Let me know if I can fail to be of any further use to you in describing things! Okay? ) It's like of like a heavy, dense cake with spices. Not the least bit smooth and/or creamy! In some families in England, "pudding" is whatever you have for sweet after dinner. So your pudding could be a nice fruit or some cake or icecream.

    The suet is the fat from a roast, and yeah, you have to make sure you don't have the membranes in there. You cut the suet up into little bitty cubes and you put in flour and sugars and spices and RAISINS and Citron and other dried fruits, whatever comes to hand. Then you put it into a bowl thingie and put a plate on top of it and put it into a BIG cool water bath. Then you heat it up until it boils. Put some marbles in, so you can hear when the water is low and QUICK open up the top and pour in more water and CLOSE the pan as quickly as you can.

    OOh! I forgot - I put in a gold coin and a silver coin. They're for luck. The gold coin is the king/queen of the dinner and the silver coin is the prince/princess.

    When it's done (after hours and hours cooking and it makes your house smell SOOOO good), you take the plate off the bowl, and let the bowl cool. Turn the pudding out onto the serving dish, and let it cool a bit. I make a really killer hard rum/sugar sauce, and I put sprigs of holly on it. (just for pretty - heh heh).

    Very pretty. Part of the English holiday customs. Most of which I understand we stole from the Germans. Go figure, huh?

    We also have Christmas Crackers at the Christmas dinner. They are tubes with pretty paper and little bits of candy and little teeny presents inside. They don't really crack as such, but you pull on the paper and they pull open and all the little fun stuff falls out onto your plate.



    Edited: P.S. Shygirl, yeah, you can make the pudding with some othr kind of fat, like shortening or oil or something. But that's not the tradition. My grandma boiled it in a sack, but I think it's prettyer being done in the bowl. Smooth and shiny on the outside and the bowl I use has kind of a depression in the top of the pudding that holds a little puddle of my good rum sauce! MMMMmmmmm
    Last edit by NurseDennie on Nov 29, '02
  7. by   Mimi2RN
    Love suet puddings, used to make family would send Atora which is processed suet (you don't have to think about membranes). You can make a basic pudding, without fruit, and put golden syrup or treacle in the bowl first, when you turn it out you it's on the outside. Serve that with Birds Eye custard...........Don't forget the steak and kidney puddings, modified as steak puddings for those who won't eat kidneys.

    I used a bowl, too, with a piece of foil on the top,and a square of muslin tied around the bowl with string, with the corners pinned together. This made the handle to lift the pudding in and out of the pan. I think my mum used greaseproof paper on top of the pudding instead of foil.

    Now I buy my Christmas Pudding, I don't cook much anymore.......

    Shygirl, you would have to try it, you might like it. People eat weird stuff in this country, too!
  8. by   emily_mom
    Sounds disgusting...don't birds eat suet rolled in birdseed?

  9. by   prmenrs
    Suet is also in mincemeat, I believe.

    A lot of this sort of thing was done to keep stuff from going bad before there was refrigeration, and to disguise food, esp. meat, that was a bit "off".
  10. by   kelligrl
    That's just yucky...:stone

    P.S. My apologies to Dennie:kiss
  11. by   renerian
    I make all kinds of homemade pudding without that dense fat.

  12. by   shygirl
    Wow! Thanks for all the info.
    Here is the recipe she gave me:

    Plum Pudding

    1lb of kidney suet
    4 C flour
    1 C sugar
    Pinch of salt
    1 T cinnamon
    1 T allspice
    1 T nutmeg
    1 lb of raisins
    1 lb of currents
    Clean the membranes out of the suet
    Mix all together and steam for 3 hours
    Keeps in the refrigerator for 6 months!

    Hard sauce:

    1 C very strong coffee
    1 T vanilla
    1 C buttermilk
    brown sugar and white sugar. Mix all these to taste.

    When ready to serve, put in a hot oven until warm, serve with warm sauce.

    Do you guys see why it sounds so delicious (except for the suet)?


    P.S. Sunnygirl, as always, you are a wealth of information!
  13. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by shygirl
    P.S. Sunnygirl, as always, you are a wealth of information!
    just come out and say it.. I'm an obnoxious
  14. by   shygirl
    I wasn't being sarcastic! I was sincere! Didn't you read the "Love" thread? See, I am honest!

    Love Shygirl