Traditionally made in England during the 14th century to be served during Christmas, this dessert was originally prepared as porridge with a pudding-like consistency that was thickened with bits of dried fruits, spices, meat (beef or veal), wine or sherry, eggs, and breadcrumbs. As the years passed and the ingredients changed, it became more like a cake than what is typically considered to be a soft, gel-like pudding. Commonly referred to as a Christmas pudding, Plum Pudding received its name from the dried plums or raisins added to the porridge that now is a cake, which may also include dried suet, currants, orange peel, nuts, spices, and various other desired ingredients. Plum Pudding is baked initially and then is reheated with steam or boiled just before being served. After reheating, it is topped with brandy or rum that is ignited so the Plum Pudding is in flames when served. In addition, a white hard sauce that is thick and somewhat creamy is added to enhance the various flavors within this sweet dessert.
Similar to fruit cake, Plum Pudding improves with age as the ingredients become more flavorful and are enhanced throughout over time. The thick, dense crumb of this cake makes it a versatile dessert that can be served simply as a holiday treat or it can be broken into pieces and used as an ingredient to be added to other desserts such as trifles, cheesecakes, pancakes, yogurt, and parfaits. After being baked, if kept properly refrigerated and sealed in an airtight bag or container, Plum Pudding can be stored for 6 months to a year.