Christmas pudding on silver cake stand with gingerbreads and mince pies

The history of mince pies and Christmas pudding

Both mince pies and Christmas pudding are treats that have been eaten and enjoyed for hundreds of years. They both originate from England but are now popular around the world. Read on to find out more about their colourful pasts.

Mince pies

Mince pies can be traced back to the 13th century when mixing meat with spices from the Crusades became popular. They were originally designed to be in the shape of Jesus’ manger and could feed up to twenty people.

In Elizabethan times, they were known as minched pies and were enjoyed by the wealthy members of society. Later they became Christmas pies and Victorian bakers decided to stop using meat as the main filling. For a long period of time, mince pies had thirteen ingredients to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples but many modern recipes use fewer than this.

Christmas pudding

The history of the Christmas pudding can be traced back to the 14th century and a porridge called frumenty. It was eaten on Christmas Eve and consisted of beef, mutton, prunes, raisins, currants, spices and wine which had been boiled into a broth. In Elizabethan times, it become known as plum pudding with breadcrumbs and dried fruit having been added to the recipe. It continued to be a firm favourite at Christmas until the Puritans banned it but it became popular again when King George I was on the throne. Like with mince pies, Victorian bakers decided to move away from a meat filling and instead use dried fruit.

From around 1830s the plum pudding resembled what we would class as a Christmas pudding today. Traditionally they’re made 4 – 5 weeks before Christmas on the first Sunday of advent and contain a hidden coin to bring the finder luck for the year ahead.

Now you know where these traditional treats come from, why not get baking your own?

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