Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grandpa Pete's Christmas Pudding & "Dip"

Christmas Pudding has a long and interesting history, and much of it ties to religious observances of the Christmas holiday.  Ours is much simpler.  It was most loved during the Depression years - when food was scarce and tradition became the glue that held families together.  We still enjoy it today.

I hope you will overlook the fact that there are only two photos in this entire post.  Since we only make this one time a year (and it is at a family gathering of over fifty relatives!) I didn’t want to be obnoxiously photographing the entire process.  Use your imagination as you read the directions. 

It has a long history, and I hope you don’t mind reading about it.  But since this blog is primarily for my own family - I know they will appreciate and use it as a bit of family history.  We serve this at our Christmas Eve party at Grandpa Pete’s.  Usually only the adults enjoy it - and that’s why we have plenty of cookies for the children.  The kids turn their backs on it - which leaves more for those of us with more refined tastes...   
My father-in-law - Grandpa Pete - is a child of the Great Depression.  Christmas was simple during those times, but the good memories are still vivid in his mind.  This is one of his favorite holiday treats, which Peggy (my sister-in-law) still makes for him.  I used to make it for my husband as well before he passed away.  For some reason, I am the one who learned to make the sauce (which my own mother - who is also a child of the Great Depression - called “Dip” as a child)  My husband’s Grandmother Hazel Petersen made this special caramel cream sauce in my own kitchen over 25 years ago - with me hanging over her shoulder and measuring it as she proceeded.  (She always made it by “feel” and this was the first - and last - time it was documented.  I’m so glad I did!) 
Christmas puddings have been around since the days of merry old England, and this must be the “Utah” version.  It must have been a statewide thing during the Depression years, as both my side of the family (from St. George & Orangeville) and my husband’s side (from Cache Valley/Hyrum ) both remember what they called Christmas Pudding & “Dip”.  Lemon sauce was also well known & loved - but this one is the family favorite.

You will notice as you stir in the thickened caramel sauce - it will make a “hollow” sound as you stir.  This is a fond Christmas memory that Grandpa Pete enjoys.  I stir it in under his watchful care, as he listens to that wonderful hollow sound.  There's too much (happy) noise for you to hear that sound on this little video from Christmas Eve - but you can tell Grandpa approves (even though it's blurry)

You will find the recipe & detailed directions for this family recipe at:


  1. Holy Smokes! I just came across your blog tonight while searching for a recipe for Paradise Cafe's fire roasted garlic tomato soup. I think I have found a gold mine. You have such a wonderful array of recipes, It makes me want to stay home and cook all day long. All I can say is I will be making a lot of your recipes in the days to come. Thanks for posting them.

    It was also fun to see that you live in SLC. (I live in Orem)


  2. I will have to try this. It looks so delicious! Have a Happy New Year!