It was with some excitement that we recently received the recipe for the Christmas Puddings served by the Pryse family at the great Cardiganshire estate house Gogerddan (now part of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at the University of Aberystwyth).
As it’s that time of year when a Christmas Pudding is needed, I decided to give it a go.
First, the quantities were rather generous, so I halved them. I used suet from a packet rather than shredded straight from the carcase of a beast, and I’m afraid I didn’t cut each one of my raisins in half as instructed (maybe raisins were bigger then?) The ‘nice breadcrumbs’ came from a local baker’s shop where they are sold in bags.
The recipe was remarkably easy – combine all the dry ingredients, add the eggs and brandy and boil for eight hours. What, EIGHT HOURS? Yes. I had to take a day off work to get it done.
[Click images to enlarge]
I made two large puddings, one in a traditional pudding basin and one in a round pudding mould. I steamed the puddings rather than boiling them. I topped up the saucepans with boiling water every hour.
The results look and smell fine. The puddings are surprisingly dark given that the colour must all come from the fruit. Inside each pudding is a silver threepenny bit – one from 1918 and one from 1936 which is coincidentally the year my mother was born. My old mum and I will be eating one of the puddings on Christmas Day – so I really hope it’s a winner! I’ll let you know…
You must male some brandy sauce! Also the length of time cooking darkens the pud sot Mum used to day.She always used butchers beef suet which was full of flavour but took hours to prepare.
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Given that the raisins had to be stoned, I think they probably were larger than the ones we use. I have my grandmother’s recipe book and I use her Christmas cake recipe, which includes the instruction, “Go over raisins carefully and remove any stalks, etc.” – something we also don’t worry about nowadays.
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Do you have other Gogerddan papers? I am currently cataloguing the main collection at NLW.
Not as such – the pudding recipe comes from a little collection recently given to us. It (the recipe) was given to the depositor’s mother.
We do have the Webley-Parry papers (photographs and diaries, mostly – not deeds) which may be of interest as the Webley Parrys became the Webley-Parry-Pryses upon some twist of inheritance. Here is the catalogue link: http://www.archifdy-ceredigion.org.uk/sched/wp00intro.html&open_str=,m54,m64,c281