These are a few menus for an authentic Victorian Christmas Dinner from Miss Leslie’s Lady’s New Receipt-book from 1850.
Christmas Dinner Recipe 1
Boiled turkey with oyster sauce
Two roast geese with apple sauce
Roasted ham, Chicken pie
Stewed beets, cold-slaw, turnips, salsify*, winter-squash
Plum pudding, Mince pie, Lemon custards, cranberry pie.
Christmas Dinner Recipe 2
Roast turkey with cranberry sauce
Boiled fowls with celery sauce
Boiled ham, Goose pie
Turnips; Winter squash
Salsify, Cold slaw, Beets
Mince pudding boiled, Lemon pudding baked. Pumpkin pudding.
Christmas Dinner Recipe 3
Mock turtle soup
Roast Turkey with cranberry sauce
Boiled turkey with celery sauce, Roasted ham;
Smoked tongue, Chicken Curry, Oyster Pie
Beets; Cold-slaw, Winter-squash, salsify, Fried celery
Plum pudding, Mince pie, Calves’feet jelly, Blanc-mange.
So three 1850 menu’s, it’s give us something to think about as start to consider what we’ll cook for Christmas Day Dinner. Here’s a recipe to start us off.
A TEMPERANCE PLUM PUDDING
Take a pound of the best raisins, and cut them in half, after removing the seeds. Or use sultana raisins that have no seeds. Pick, and wash clean, a pound of currants, and dry them before the fire, spread out on a large flat dish.
Cut into slips half a pound of citron. Then mix together, on the same dish, the currants, the raisins, and the citron, and dredge them thickly with flour to prevent their sinking or clodding in the pudding; tumbling them about with your hands till they are all over well covered with the flour. Mince very fine a pound of beef suet.
Mix a pint of West India molasses with a pint of rich milk. Sift into a pan a pound of flour. In another pan beat eight eggs very light. Stir the beaten eggs, gradually, into the mixed molasses and milk ; alternately with the flour, and half a pound of sugar, (which should previously be crushed smooth by roiling it with a rolling-pin,) a little at a time of each. Then add, by degrees, the fruit and the suet, a little of each alternately.
Beat and stir the whole very hard, till all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Take a large clean square cloth of coarse strong linen, dip it in boiling water, shake it, spread it out in a large pan, and dredge it with flour to prevent the pudding from sticking to it when boiled. Then pour the pudding-mixture into the cloth ; leave room for it to swell, and tie it firmly, plastering up the tying-place with a bit of coarse dough made of flour and water. Have ready a large pot full of water, and boiling hard. Put in the pudding, and boil it well from six to eight hours. Less than six will not be sufficient, and eight hours will not be too long. Turn it several times while boiling, and keep at hand a kettle of hot water to replenish the pot as it boils away. Do not take it up till immediately before it is wanted on the table. Then dip it for a moment into cold water, untie the cloth, and turn out the pudding. Serve it up with a sauce-boat of sweetened cream, seasoned with nutmeg; or with butter and sugar beaten together till light and white, and flavoured with lemon. What is left of the pudding may be tied up in a cloth and boiled again next day for an hour or more. It will be equally as nice as on the first day. This is a much better way of re-cooking than to slice and fry it.
This pudding may be made with sifted yellow Indian meal, instead of wheat flour.