This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Peculiar to Christmas in this country-, as crepes and pancakes are to Shrovetide elsewhere. It has been an institution in Britain for centuries, but in olden times was a porridge, a sort of mincemeat, and was eaten before the meats instead of after. There is a story of a late day of a great Englishman abroad who, having distinguished guests to dine with him on Christmas, decided to surprise them with the treat of an English plum pudding, and accordingly instructed his French cook how to make it. But he forgot to tell him the ingredients were to be tied up in a bag, so when the pudding was ordered in the cook with a string of assistants marched in with a procession of soup tureens holding what should have been the pudding. The mixture when prepared had been stirred into the great pot of boiling water and made into soup.
Is a very rich plum pudding, made from the old-fashioned concomitants. A basin is buttered, lined with a thin suet crust; then the pudding- mixture is put in to half fill the basin. This is followed by a rich custard perfumed with orange flower water; a paste cover is put on, and the whole steamed for from 6 to 8 hours; turn out and serve with brandy sauce. The spices and good things represent the gifts of the three kings of Cologne, who were said to be the wise men of the Star of Bethlehem fame; the paste is the casket enshrining the treasures. A Plum Pudding - 1/2 lb. each suet, currants, sugar, 1/4 lb. each citron and candied orange peel, 6 oz. flour, 2 oz. breadcrumbs, 3/4 lb. raisins, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 nutmeg, 1 lemon rind and juice, 1 glass brandy, 4 eggs, little salt; boiled 5 or 6 hours.