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Old Clerk House

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Heritage Recipe

Grandma Griffiths' Christmas Pudding

This recipe came from my great-grandmother, born around 1850, and was given to me by my grandmother in 1955. These puddings were always made a year in advance and were stored in the pantry. Lacking a pantry, I keep mine in the refrigerator, not frozen. For best taste, they should be made at least 6 months to a year in advance, although it would take a real connoisseur to know the difference. Yes, I do keep up the family tradition and serve the pudding to my family every Christmas, just as my great-grandmother did. ...Patricia Watkins

1 pound self-rising flour
1 pound currants, dried
1/2 pound yellow raisins
1 pound raisins, stoned
1 pound kidney suet, ground (can substitute vegetable shortening, but not as good)
2 ounces almonds, ground
3/4 pound sugar
5 ounces mixed candied peel
1 apple
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt, to taste

Beat the eggs slightly and add to all the other ingredients in a very large bowl. Stir thoroughly. 1/4 cup of milk or brandy may be added if still very dry. Put enough deep pots or preserving pans, all with lids, on to boil with enough water to come to the rims of the pudding bowls. You can increase the depth by using a rack of some sort. Water must be boiling when you put the puddings on to cook!

Grease about five or six 24-ounce pudding basins and fill to the top with pudding mixture. Grease the same number of squares of waxed paper large enough to be able to be tied down under the rim of the pudding bowl. You can always cut off the excess afterwards. Make a 1-inch pleat along the center of each piece of waxed paper (this allows the pudding to rise), and place over the top of each pudding bowl, greased side down.

Cut white fabric (an old sheet is ideal) into 18-inch squares. Dampen, and make a pleat in the top as with the waxed paper. Place over the top of the waxed paper, and tie down with good, wide tape. The ends of the cloth should be crossed over the bowls and tied in two knots. These can be used as handles. Place the puddings in the boiling water, and put the lids on firmly.

Don't lift the lids for the first hour, or the pudding will collapse. After that, you must check to see that the pans are not running dry. You will need to replenish with boiling water several times during the 8 hours it takes to cook them. When the puddings have cooled, you can remove the wax paper and cloths if they are very messy and replace them with clean ones (without the pleat this time). Store in a very cool place.

To serve, heat the puddings, still in their wax paper and cloth cover, in boiling water for about an hour. Turn out onto a plate and serve with either hard sauce or white, brandy sauce. For the faint-hearted, I suppose the recipe could be halved, although I have not tried it....

Each pudding serves six.

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