You’re preparing a Christmas pudding this holiday season, and you’d like to go the traditional route and hide something inside it. I’ll tell you what you should put in this holiday dessert ahead.
What is traditionally hidden inside a Christmas pudding? Traditionally, a silver coin are hidden inside a Christmas pudding. Finding the Christmas pudding coin in your piece of the pudding is supposed to bring you good luck.
If you’re eager to make a traditional Christmas pudding this year, this article will be your guide. I’ll explain what to put in your yummy treat, whether it’s safe to insert coins in a Christmas pudding, and how to make a pudding from scratch.
What Is Traditionally Hidden Inside a Christmas Pudding? Coins, Charms, or Tokens?
The Christmas pudding goes back to medieval England. Today, it’s still made much the same, with sweetened and dried fruit (hence its other name – plum pudding).
Yet what goes inside a traditional Christmas pudding?
If you want to keep the dessert as traditional as its early English origins, then you should put a silver coin (a sixpence) inside the dessert.
The coin placement is supposed to be random, as half the fun of cutting into a Christmas pudding is finding out who will receive the coin.
As I touched on in the intro, the one who sees the glimmering silver coin in a bite of their cakey, moist dessert will be blessed with good luck.
Is It Safe to Put Coins in Christmas Pudding?
Now, a lot has changed since the days of medieval England. After all, those were the Middle Ages back in the fifth century, and here we are in the 21st century.
All that is to say – just how safe is it to insert a coin into a dessert? And how hygienic?
Coins and paper money are generally not regarded as the cleanest thing ever. They get passed from person to person, possibly hundreds or thousands of times. It’s hard to tell.
The coins could be germy, and now you’re talking about baking that coin into a dessert, where the germs can spread.
You could always disinfect the coin before baking, of course.
To do that, fill a bowl with white vinegar to the point where the coin(s) you insert is fully submerged. After 30 or more minutes, take the coin out and then scrub it with a toothbrush.
Thoroughly rinse the coin with water to ensure all the vinegar residue is gone.
Disinfecting is helpful, but if the coin is corroded, then a bit of white vinegar alone isn’t really going to help.
Baking soda can treat corrosion, but by this point, you’re going through a lot of effort just to spruce up a single coin for a dessert.
Besides, even if the coin was clean, that doesn’t say anything about the matter of how safe it is.
A sixpence is about 19.3 millimeters with a diameter of ¾ inches.
In other words, if you compare it to the American dime, it’s a little bit bigger.
A dime-sized coin would be really easy to miss in your Christmas pudding.
Someone who is happily scarfing the treat down bite after bite or is engaged in conversation and not paying attention could easily eat the coin without ever seeing it.
Now, most adults are not at risk of choking on a coin as small as a dime, but it’s a different story for children.
The coin could get stuck in their esophagus, blocking off the child’s airways.
If you or someone else in your household knows the Heimlich maneuver, you should be able to dislodge the coin easily enough.
Even still, that sure would be a scary moment that would put a real damper on your Christmas celebrations!
Christmas Pudding Charms – How to Choose
If the idea of putting coins in your Christmas pudding is making you too nervous, you might consider hiding charms in the holiday pudding instead.
Charms might not be too much bigger than a sixpence, so a verbal warning to your guests to beware of the charm is ideal.
One of the benefits of using charm in your Christmas pudding instead of the traditional Christmas pudding coin is that they can denote more than just luck.
Depending on which charm you select to hide in the pudding, it can mean a myriad of things. Here’s an overview.
An anchor charm designed after what you’d see on a boat represents safety.
When one finds this charm in their Christmas pudding, they should smile. It means that the year ahead will be one that’s free of danger.
Okay, so technically this one isn’t a charm, as you might insert an actual wishbone from a Christmas turkey or chicken into the pudding.
Finding the wishbone alone means that one’s wish will be granted.
You can also have two members of the family battle it out and snap the wishbone.
One person grabs one side of the wishbone and the second person the other side. They both pull until the wishbone snaps.
The person with the longest piece of the wishbone is the one who will get their wish granted.
A bell charm–or alternately, a ring charm–is a cute thing to insert if someone in your family is coupled up and thinking about getting married.
The charm indicates that a wedding will happen, perhaps even in the year to come!
The horseshoe charm is a rather traditional pick that signifies good luck. It sure would be nice to find this in one’s dessert!
A button charm has a bit of a different meaning.
Intended for single men, the button charm indicates that the man who finds it will stay single for the year ahead.
For the perpetual bachelor, this will not be a bad thing at all.
Likewise, for women, the thimble charm has a very similar meaning.
When a lady stumbles upon a thimble charm, she too will be unattached for the next year.
Christmas Pudding Recipe
You’ve always been enamored with Christmas pudding but have yet to actually make one yourself.
Well, this year, that can all change. Here’s a recipe for an authentic British Christmas pudding courtesy of The Spruce Eats.
You’ll need these ingredients:
- Eggs (2, large)
- Whole almonds (1/4 cup, coarsely chopped)
- Fresh breadcrumbs (1 cup)
- Dark brown sugar (2/3 cup, packed)
- Vegetarian or beef suet (1 cup, shredded)
- Cinnamon (1 ½ teaspoons, ground)
- Mixed spice (1 teaspoon, ground)
- Self-rising flour (1/2 cup, sifted)
- Brandy (1/4 cup)
- Lemon juice (1 tablespoon)
- Orange juice (2 tablespoons)
- Lemon zest (1/2 tablespoon)
- Orange zest (1 tablespoon)
- Cooking apple (1, cored, peeled, and chopped)
- Mixed candied fruit peel (1/2 cup, chopped)
- Mixed dried fruit (3 ½ cups)
Then follow these steps.
In a big mixing bowl, add the juices, lemon and orange zest, apple, candied peel, and dried fruit. Then mix with brandy and stir until the ingredients are incorporated.
Take a tea towel and place it over the bowl, giving the ingredients several hours to mix and marinate. If you can wait overnight, the flavors will come through even better.
Grab a 2 ½-pint pudding basin and cover it in a thin layer of butter.
Take another big mixing bowl and stir the cinnamon, mixed spices, and flour. Then add the almonds, breadcrumbs, sugar, and suet, incorporating those ingredients as well.
Finally, take the dried fruits from their bowl and stir them into the mix.
In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and mix them into the larger bowl right away. By this point, the Christmas pudding ingredients should be soft.
Grab a spoon and add the ingredients into the greased pudding tin one spoonful at a time. Press down hard with the back of the spoon as you go.
Take two layers of greaseproof baking parchment or paper and then add a layer of aluminum foil atop that, covering the pudding tin.
Wrap a string around the entire tin to make a handle and keep the foil from coming off.
Fill a saucepan with simmering water and then place the pudding tin overtop the water.
Allow seven hours of steaming to elapse.
Periodically, refill the water as needed so you don’t end up dry-boiling the Christmas pudding.
When the Christmas pudding turns a dark brown hue, it’s officially considered cooked.
Turn the heat source off, take the pudding tin off the heat, and allow it to cool. Then remove the aluminum foil and parchment paper as well as the string.
With a skewer, make holes throughout the pudding and then pour some brandy over top into the holes.
Grab another piece of greaseproof paper and tie it into place. Keep the Christmas pudding in a dry, cool environment for upwards of five weeks or until you’re ready to eat it.
To get the Christmas pudding nice and hot again, steam it for only an hour and then serve.