In early 2018 I decided to make a Christmas Pudding to join my Suet Pudding Range of Spotted Dick and the Bread Pudding. Easy I thought, weren't rocket science, how wrong was I, it's gone far beyond rocket science ~ deep into religious parables and fables ~ into the World of medicinal herbs ~ not to mention the 1001 superstitions ~ Then in rode The Knights Templars ~ the journey continues........
Welcome to the Saga of 'The Making of a Christmas Pudding' ...............
I married a formula with several recipes from the 1920's to 1960's using traditional suet - fruits and all the usual suspects as the base for the puddings. The last tweak was in late December 2018; I added more unwaxed lemon zest, and replaced the rolling treacle spoon with blackstrap molasses.
As I wrote earlier I decided to make a Christmas Pudding in early 2018 with all the popular ingredients with Brandy and Stout being the alcohol content, Guinness being the Stout. The puddings I'm making are for the individual (250g) with a fast prep time of 2 minutes through the microwave. The Lucky Silver three penny is supplied separately adhered to the inside of the basin lid, which must be removed before microwaving.
Photo shows how I would include the Lucky Silver Threepenny for serving.
So all was set to make and sell Christmas Puddings for Christmas 2018. Then in walks Eric St.John-Foti! Eric always comes in on a Saturday for Jellied Eels and swaps books with The Pieman, I always give him extra's and told him I was making a Christmas Pudding, he answered 'Do you know I was the very first person to make and mass produce the first individual Christmas Pudding, I used my Norfolk Punch , I sold 1000's' - I stood and stared at him I felt like a pyramid of playing cards collapsing. Huh! back to the drawing board.
Norfolk Punch - a healthy non-alcoholic herbal drink, first made by the Benedictine Monks of Welle Manor in the Fenlands of Western Norfolk at least 700 years ago, who believed Norfolk Punch was “nature's answer to tenseness, tiredness, and lowness of spirits”. It also has a remarkable ability to induce a feeling of cheerfulness and wellbeing.
The fact that the formula survived through the Centuries should be no surprise for Monastic Orders were by far the most literate group in society and the fact that it was not seen as a pious work, may have saved it from the ravages of the Reformation. ‘What is extraordinary regarding Norfolk Punch, is that it is one of the few, if not the only drink of ‘Monastic origins, that has survived through the ages.
In 974 A.D Benedictine Monks first took possession of Welle Estate in Norfolk and established fascinating herb gardens.
13th Century - the recipe for herbal tonic had been recorded by the monks at Upwell, deemed by them to be “nature’s answer to tenseness, tiredness and lowness of spirits”. Thus Norfolk Punch was born.
1539 - Henry VIII dissolved the monastic orders and confiscated their properties. the formula of Norfolk Punch was recorded and hidden by the monks.
1980 - This formula lay hidden for centuries, until its discovery by Eric in a priest hole in the 80's, who had purchased Welle Manor Hall. The process of reviving Olde Norfolk Punch took many years perfecting in order to keep the ancient recipe. And went into production, Eric later sold out to Britvic for many millions.
2018 - Norfolk Punch now going into my Christmas Pudding with Brandy.