Christmas Cakes & Christmas Puddings
Definition in the Oxford English Dictionary
A dried grape or raisin as used for puddings, cakes, in the 19th Century 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 substituted article.
Christmas pudding is a steamed pudding traditionally served at Christmas with Rum or Brandy butter (Hard Sauce). The name Christmas Pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope. During the Puritan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as “sinfully rich.”
Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the christmas pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor. Our Grandmother used silver sixpences, wrapped in a little grease proof paper, as children it was very exciting to find the coin and taking care not to bite it!
It is also traditional for everybody in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.