W. Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, With Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated.
Forming A New Edition of "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" By Brand and Ellis, Largely Extended, Corrected, Brought Down To The Present Time, and Now First Alphabetically Arranged.
In Two Volumes
London: Reeves and Turner, 1905.
Vol. 2, pp.671-72
The Yule-Dough, or Dow, was a kind of Baby, or little image of paste, which our bakers used formerly to bake at this season, and present to their customers, in the same manner as the Chandlers gave Christmas candles.
They are called Yule cakes in the county of Durham. I find in the Roman Calendar that at Rome, on the vigil of the Nativity, sweet meats were presented to the Fathers in the Vatican, and that all kinds of little images (no doubt of paste) were to be found at the confectionersí shops. There is the greatest probability that we have had hence both our Yule-doughs, plum-porridge, and mince-pies, the latter of which are still in common use at this season. The Yule-dough has perhaps been intended for an image of the child Jesus, with the Virgin Mary. It is now, If I mistake not, pretty generally laid aside, or at most retained only by children.
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