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The VIC Pictorial: Plum Pudding and Carol Duvall - together!
December 21, 2010

Issue #71 -"If I could work my will," said Scrooge, indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!" Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843).

That lethal pudding Scrooge invokes is undoubtedly the traditional Victorian plum pudding, our theme for this Special Edition of The VIC Pictorial!

So grab a nog and settle back for some Christmas cheer:

  • A FREE Victorian vintage image of an authentic Plum Pudding - with that vicious stake of holly!
  • A traditional Plum Pudding Recipe for the trusty ol' Crock Pot.
  • An exclusive VIC holiday message from the Queen of Crafting, Carol Duvall!
  • The strange case of the "missing cinnamon" from last week's Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars recipe.
Let's get crafting...

FREE Victorian
Vintage Image of
Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding image


If that link doesn't work for you (it is a very large file of 4.6MB, so it might take a minute or two), you can try this alternate link:

Christmas pudding, or plum pudding, is a steamed cake, heavy with dried fruit (yes, plums!) and nuts, and usually made with suet. It is very dark in appearance as a result of the dark sugars and black treacle in most recipes, and its long cooking time. The mixture can be moistened with the juice of citrus fruits, brandy and other alcohol.

The pudding took its traditional cannon-ball shape during the Victorian period, when the puddings were wrapped in a cloth bag and steamed. Traditionally a winter recipe, it became more and more associated with Christmas. There are recipes dating back to the 1400s, but it was the 19th century 'Martha Stewart,' Eliza Acton who first referred to it as "Christmas Pudding" in her cookbook.

Want to have a true Victorian Christmas? Get out ye old traditional Crock Pot and steam up your own Plum Pudding!

Plum puddings were frequently brought as gifts to Christmas parties.
The vintage image above would be perfect as your gift tag!

Traditional Plum Pudding

Adapted for the crock pot in Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

4 slices bread, torn up
1 cup milk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
6 oz finely chopped or ground suet (raw beef fat)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace
2 cups raisins
1 cup pitted dates, cut up
1/2 cup mixed candied fruits and peels, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Soak bread in milk; beat. Stir in eggs, sugar, juice, suet, and vanilla. In large bowl, combine flour with soda, salt and spices. Add fruits and nuts. Mix well. Stir in bread mixture. Pour into well-greased 2-qt mold. Cover tightly with foil. Place on metal rack or trivet in slow-cooking pot with 1 inch water. Cover pot and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Cool in pan 10 minutes; unmold.

A Victorian would not recognize this as plum pudding without a large sprig of holly stuck in the top. Serve warm, plain, or with hard sauce. The Joy of Cooking recommends storing the pudding in a cool place, with 1/2 cup of brandy poured over it.

The Joy of Christmas Crafting
by Carol Duvall

A personal message to VIC Pictorial Subscribers

A short time ago, Scott asked if I would write a few words to you about the Joy of Christmas Crafting. I agreed to the “joy” part, but made no promise about managing to do it in a few words.

Anybody who has done any Christmas crafting, whether for themselves or for others as gifts, knows the joy that can come from it. This year I was blessed with a very special, many-faceted experience.

Carol Duvall and star decorationsAlmost a year ago, I offered to decorate a tree this month for the local Habitat For Humanity tree auction. I decided to decorate a tree with sparkling white lights and dozens and dozens and dozens of white German stars. So I did. It took many many hours of folding and stringing but the end result was beautiful. Even better, it was a family effort. My son applied the lights and my daughter-in-law helped hang the ornaments!

We shared the pleasure of actually making the stars, the delight of the finished tree, and the satisfaction of having folks bidding many dollars to take it for their own home! Most important, we knew those dollars were going to a worthy cause.  That single tree helped us celebrate the joy of Christmas crafting together.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Crafting New Year to you!

Carol Duvall signature
(Read Carol's 2009 interview at

Corrected Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars Recipe

We accidentally forgot to include the cinnamon in the Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars recipe last week. That's like forgetting the ginger. Or the bread. Thank you Suzy, Mark, Vera and others for noticing!

But it is worth quoting Celeste again: "These are to die for. I ate one without the maple syrup and then later one with maple syrup....OH YEAH! Gotta use the syrup! My house smelled wonderful while they were baking too!"

Here is the corrected recipe:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars

2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup solid pack pumpkin (about half a 15oz can)
2 tbs molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbs confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square pan with nonstick vegetable spray.

Beat eggs with electric mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Add brown sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, molasses and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger; stir to blend. Add to pumpkin mixture, stir well, and pour into prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan; invert onto platter. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. We like to drizzle some warm maple syrup on top.

Recipe from the Bellingham Herald, Jill Wendholt Silva.

Next Issue

We're taking a little road trip from Washington back down to Los Angeles to visit brothers, sisters and friends at Christmas! The laptop will be at our side, or on our lap, so feel free to write with your questions and ideas, as always.

The January issue of The VIC Pictorial will be out around January 20, so expect a lavish display of public affection. We call it Valentine's Day. We  have some card ideas that will make you dizzy with romance.

Ten Vintage Christmas Greetings to Make cover photoDon't forget, these are the final days for the 30% Off Sale for subscribers only. Our e-book, "Ten Vintage Christmas Greetings to Make" has everything you need to make classy Vintage-inspired Christmas cards that will amaze your crafty friends. Take advantage of this limited-time offer. To get your 30% discount, enter this code during checkout:

DISCOUNT CODE: thanksgivingsale

(Expires 12/24/2010)

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy today!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
and may all your crafts be vintage!!

Scott & Martin

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