Halloween Pudding slice on a plate served with cream and whole pudding in background

Halloween Pudding

I have always been fascinated by traditional recipes. As my parents were from Ireland and I was born and brought up in England my interest has centred on recipes from these two countries.

As Halloween is approaching I have been trying to find a traditional Halloween recipe. I have been mainly looking at Irish recipes as the widespread celebration of Halloween is a fairly recent innovation in England.

The final version of my Halloween Pudding is based on an old old Irish recipe that I have adapted. I’m really happy with it – it’s fruity and light and would be perfect for a Halloween party gathering.

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

When I was a child my family didn’t celebrate Halloween. Instead we enjoyed ‘Bonfire Night’ on the 5th of November:

Remember, remember the 5th of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot,

I see no reason,

Why gunpowder treason,

Should ever be forgot,

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes was his intent,

To blow up the king and the Parliament.

We built our bonfire and burnt our Guy and set off fireworks. November 5th is especially important in Sussex – the home of the ‘Bonfire Societies‘.

Slice of Halloween Pudding with a 50p coin embedded in it.

Samhain

Recent years have seen a revival of Halloween in England so now the children have two celebrations at this time of year.

Halloween has always been celebrated in Ireland, originating in the Celtic festival of Samhain which dates back over 2000 years. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of another year.

It was also the day when spirits could return to earth. Bonfires would be lit to ward off any evil spirits and to ensure good fortune for the new year.

The coming of Christianity converted Samhain into All Hallows Eve or Halloween but many of the old traditions survived.

Barm Brack

Barm Brack, the Irish fruit loaf, is traditional at Halloween with fortune telling ‘favours’ baked inside. These can include a ring foretelling marriage, a coin foretelling good fortune or wealth, a button foretelling bachelorhood, a thimble foretelling spinsterhood, and rag foretelling poverty.

Slice being cut from a whole Halloween Pudding with a knife on a white plate

Irish Halloween Pudding

I did however find another recipe which included ‘favours’ in a book by Biddy White Lennon – Best of Irish Home Baking.

This was for a Halloween Pudding from the Lower Ards area of Ulster and was given to her by the celebrated Irish food writer Honor Moore, who came from Newtownards.

The original recipe was for a small pudding to serve 4-6 people. I have doubled it to make a larger pudding more suitable for a Halloween celebration.

I have also only used coins as favours (as I do in Christmas Pudding which would originally also have had fortune telling charms) as I really only wish to predict good fortune!

I wash them well and then sterilise in boiling water and insert them into the pudding after it is cooked just before serving.

Equipment you will need to make Halloween Pudding

Apart from the essential kitchen items you will need a pudding bowl or basin such as the 2.5 litre / 4 pint Mason Cash one I have used here, parchment paper and some string.

White pudding bowl or basin upside down showing maker's name Mason Cash

Ingredients you will need to make Halloween Pudding

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  • 4 ounces / 115 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 8 ounces / 225 grams breadcrumbs
  • 4 ounces / 115 grams caster sugar
  • 6 ounces / 180 grams salted butter
  • 1 pound / 450 grams mixed dried fruit
  • 12 fluid ounces / 350 mls buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons treacle

Directions

  1. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Stir in the breadcrumbs and sugar.
  3. Rub in the butter.
  4. Stir in the dried fruit.
  5. Mix to a soft mixture with the buttermilk and treacle.
  6. Grease a 2 litre / 4 pint pudding basin with butter. Cut a small round of baking parchment and place in the bottom of the pudding bowl.
  7. Pour the pudding mixture into the bowl.
  8. Put a round of baking parchment directly on top of the pudding to fit inside the bowl.
  9. Cover the bowl with two layers of baking parchment with a pleat in the middle to allow for any expansion. Tie down tightly with string around the bowl looping it across the top to make a handle to lift the pudding in and out of the cooking pot.
halloween pudding prep1
Two layers of baking parchment with a pleat in the middle tied down tightly with string around the bowl and looped across the top to make a handle
  1. If you have a steamer large enough use it to steam the pudding for four hours. My steamer will only take a 1 litre / 2 pint bowl so I used a large saucepan. Put a plate upside down on the bottom of your pan and fill with boiling water to come about half way up your pudding basin. Cover and steam for four hours topping up with boiling water as necessary.
    DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL DRY.
  2. When cooked lift from the pan and remove the string and baking parchment.
halloween pudding prep2
After you have removed the string and top two layers of parchment paper you should have a single piece of parchment paper on top of the pudding
  1. Remove the remaining piece of parchment paper (see above) and insert your coins (or other favours) into the pudding and turn out onto a serving plate.
halloween pudding prep coins in
Insert coins into pudding
halloween pudding prep turned out
Turn out onto a serving plate
  1. Serve hot with cream or custard and enjoy!

Halloween Pudding

Recipe by Scones Plus More Course: DessertCuisine: IrelandDifficulty: Moderate
Servings

10

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

4

hours 

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces / 115 grams plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice

  • 8 ounces / 225 grams breadcrumbs

  • 4 ounces / 115 grams caster sugar

  • 6 ounces / 180 grams salted butter

  • 1 pound / 450 grams mixed dried fruit

  • 12 fluid ounces / 350 mls buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons treacle

Directions

  • Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs and sugar.
  • Rub in the butter.
  • Stir in the dried fruit.
  • Mix to a soft mixture with the buttermilk and treacle.
  • Grease a 2.5 litre / 4 pint pudding basin with butter. Cut a small round of baking parchment and place in the bottom of the pudding bowl.
  • Pour the pudding mixture into the bowl.
  • Put a round of baking parchment directly on top of the pudding to fit inside the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with two layers of baking parchment with a pleat in the middle to allow for any expansion. Tie down tightly with string around the bowl looping it across the top to make a handle to lift the pudding in and out of the cooking pot.
  • If you have a steamer large enough use it to steam the pudding for four hours. My steamer will only take a 1 litre / 2 pint bowl so I used a large saucepan. Put a plate upside down on the bottom of your pan and fill with boiling water to come about half way up your pudding basin. Cover and steam for four hours topping up with boiling water as necessary.
    DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL DRY.
  • When cooked lift from the pan and remove the string and baking parchment.
  • Remove the remaining piece of parchment paper and insert your coins (or other favours) into the pudding and turn out onto a serving plate.
  • Serve hot with cream or custard and enjoy.

How to Serve Halloween Pudding

Serve Halloween Pudding hot with cream or custard.

halloween pudding 14

Happy Halloween!

Tanya

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