Here are some traditional Victorian Christmas recipes to try in your own home!
Mrs. Cratchit passed down her recipe for “smooth and glossy” Christmas pudding to each of her daughters, as an important (and delicious!) way to remember their family Christmas traditions.
The following recipe is likely very similar to the one Belinda Cratchit learned from her mother. It is adapted from recipe number 1328 in Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (1865), a compendium of the quintessential dishes of Victorian England.
340 gr (12 oz.) raisins
230 gr (8 oz.) currants
230 gr (8 oz.) mixed peel
170 gr (6 oz.) bread crumbs
170 gr (6 oz.) suet, or other shortening
½ wineglassful of brandy
Stone and cut the raisins in halves, but do not chop them.
Wash, pick, and dry the currants, and mince the suet finely.
Cut the candied peel into thin slices, and grate down the bread into fine crumbs.
When all these dry ingredients are prepared, mix them well together.
Moisten the mixture with the eggs (which should be well beaten) and the brandy.
Stir well, that everything may be very thoroughly blended, and press the pudding into a buttered mould.
Tie it down tightly with a floured cloth.
Boil for 5 or 6 hours. It may be boiled in a cloth without a mould, and will require the same time allowed for cooking.
When the pudding is taken out of the pot, hang it up immediately by a hook, and put a plate or saucer underneath to catch the water that will drain from it. Leave it to dry out until Christmas Day.
No Victorian Christmas was complete without a Wassail Bowl, a strong mulled punch made of sweetened and spiced ale or wine and garnished with roasted crab apples. The fashion was to celebrate by everyone drinking the wassail from the same cup.
1 quart unsweetened apple juice
3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups reduced calorie cranberry juice
1 navel orange, sliced
1 medium lemon, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 whole cloves
1 (3 inch) stick cinnamon, broken
In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Discard the orange and lemon slices, cloves and cinnamon before serving.