The Third Advent Candle,
Day Eleven on the Advent Calendar
Cumberland Rum Butter
Window eleven is a
History of Christmas Pudding Charms:
In Victorian times, small silver charms were placed in Christmas Puddings prior to boiling or steaming them. Each charm signified either advice, luck, romance or good fortune. Traditionally, these charms were a boot for travel, a bell for good luck, a wish bone to make your wishes come true, a thimble denoting spinsterhood, a ring for an impending marriage or engagement, a horseshoe for luck and a bachelor’s button for luck as well. Silver sixpences and threepenny bits were also placed in the pudding for good fortune. Coins continued to be placed in puddings long after the little charms went out of favour, but after World War II, coins were made of copper and brass alloys which reacted during the cooking process, so the tradition of adding charms and coins to the Christmas Puddings became rare, although I am lucky enough to have a couple of silver sixpences which I use every Christmas.
My recipe today also has a role to play with coins and Christmas; lightly spiced butter, laced with dark rum ~ this traditional old recipe originates from Cumberland in Northern England. In Cumberland, rum butter served with oatcakes or buttermilk scones were given to friends who called at the house to visit a new-born baby. In return, they would leave a silver coin and on the day of the christening, when the rum butter bowl or pot was empty, the coins were then placed in to the empty bowl. Tradition dictated that a sticky bowl with plenty of coins meant that the child would never want for anything and would be well off for the rest of their lives, hopefully!
The saying goes…….”Butter symbolises the richness of life, sugar the sweetness of life and rum, the spirit of life.” Cumberland rum butter is also traditionally served with Christmas pudding and mince pies; it also makes a wonderful gift for any new parents or to give throughout the festive season, and we all love it in our household.
Cumberland Rum Butter
- 8 ounces (225g) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces (150g) soft dark brown sugar
- 8 -10 tablespoons dark rum
- grated nutmeg or mixed spice
Put the butter in a warmed bowl and cream it, either with a wooden spoon or an electric beater or handheld mixer.
Tip in the sugar and rum and mix everything together.
Grate in nutmeg to taste, (or mixed spice) and mix again.
Place in a bowl, an earthenware bowl is traditional, then chill until required.
Serve with mince pies, Christmas pudding, sweet tarts and pies, sweet biscuits, oatcakes, scones, crumpets, muffins or on toast.
That’s all for this Advent Sunday ~ I will be back tomorrow with some chocolate treats!Karen
A Trifle Rushed says
Karen what a great post, I envy you your silver sixpences! Have a lovely day. Jude x
Dom at Belleau Kitchen says
You want to watch your teeth on those puddings mrs miggins! Our Karen's gone stuffed em with the silverware again!
Baking Addict says
Such a lovely and informative post. I can't believe you still have silver sixpences. This Cumberland rum butter looks amazing and I love what it symbolises. Butter definitely makes everything better 🙂
What a great post. I love the Christening tradition.
Clearly any last minute present dilemmas for local friends are now solved, Cumberland Rum Butter it is! Thank you Karen 😀
Such an informative post. Thanks for sharing.
Rum butter?! Ohh Karen, I'll be making this to pop on my toast between now and the 25th for a very festive start to each and every morning!!
this butter would go so great with the raisin bread I made this morning!!! yum yum 🙂
Karen, where do you get it all from? You are a mine of information. I can't remember anything from one minute to the next and you know what I blame – all those sixpences and threepenny bits I used to get in my Christmas pudding – both at school and home – it's those damn alloys!
Love rum butter though.
What a lovely bit of folklore. We still give new babies a coin (£1 coin now) but no rum butter!
Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says
Great post Karen – love the tales – some of which I've heard many times and some of which are new – really lovely – the rum butter sounds fantastic
Wow, I must make some rum butter to go with my plum pushing this year AND mince pies too. You have so many good ideas, who else has so much knowledge at their fingertips! X
I'm definitely keeping the new baby lore in mind. What a fabulous gift to give new parents! However, I'm not waiting around to have a baby to try some. 🙂
As much as I enjoy the recipes and photos, I really enjoy reading about the food history and lore. Wonderful post!
fiona maclean says
fab karen, I was looking for a brandy or rum butter recipe, yours looks very good!
And as someone said earlier it's lovely to have the history!