Recipes For Traditional Steamed Pudding and Carrot Pudding From the UK In the 1700s
Long time Hubber jimmythejock asked about traditional Christmas pudding recipes. I have a couple of recipes to share that might be similar to those he once enjoyed.
Different branches of my father's family moved from England to Scotland and Ireland in the 1700s and 1800s before emigrating to America in order to escape both the Scottish and Irish Potato Famines. My maternal grandmother kept some recipes from both of the Celtic countries. Although we did not have the recipes written down and parts of them were forgotten down the decades, my father remembered enough to compare them with American desserts. from there, we were able to replicate the originals to some extent.
To the best that I could deduce, the Christmas puddings my grandmother made were the carrot pudding and the steamed pudding. To my father, these resembled the Spanish bar cakes that were sold in groceries for many years, but lacked the carrots. Today, this could be a sort of very dark carrot cake, probably a carrot cake with molasses added.
The other traditional pudding was likened to a fruitcake that was softer than American fruitcakes. Pouring milk over the fruitcake in a bowl softened it, but it was not quite Grandmother's recipe. I felt that this must be the steamed pudding I'd heard about in history classes and home economics. Finally, I was able to determine both recipes, and while they may be nothing at all like your mom's, they might be interesting.
A Carrot Pudding For Christmas
This is like a steamed carrot cake with a darker, richer flavor. If you want an even darker flavor, add two tablespoons of dark molasses.
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 4 hours
- Ready in: 4 hours 20 min
- Yields: At least 8 slices.
- 1/2 Cup Lard, or Crisco white shortening
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1.5 Cups Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1tsp Salt
- 1 tsp each Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves
- 1 Cup shredded or grated Carrots
- 1 Cup dark raisins or, you can subsitute golden raisins.
- 1 Cup walnut pieces or, we liked English walnuts, a darker flavor.
For one type of sauce:
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 Cup Hot Water
- 3 1/2 tsp Butter
- 2 TBSP pure vanilla extract
- Using a large mixing bowl, cream the lard and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
- Slowly and a little at a time, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir thoroughly.
- Add the carrots, raisins, and walnuts and stir well. The mixture will be pretty dry overall until the moisture of the carrots takes effect..
- Pour into a greased Bundt pan or similar pan. I've seen these steamed in a crockery bowl as well.
- Seal the pan or bowl with aluminum foil.
- Fill a Dutch oven or large pot with 2 inches of hot water.
- Put the pudding pan or bowl into the water, cover the Dutch oven and bring the heat up to simmer.
- Steam the pudding for about 4 hours or until done.
- Remove the pan or bowl from the hot water and let cool slightly.
- turn out the pudding onto a serving platter and serve with warm sauce.
For the sauce:
- Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a pot on the stove top and stir.
- Over medium heat, add the hot water, butter, and vanilla.
- Cook the sauce until thick and pour over the pudding.
A Steamed Christmas Pudding
This one was served on my grandparents' two side-by-side farms in Eastern Ohio from about the Civil War Era to the 1920s when John Glenn was born nearby. It was served with a hard sauce or a rum sauce of heavy cream poured over and probably developed (some would say "degraded") into the American fruitcake. A fruitcake here can become too hard and dried out, leading to the multitude of jokes about it being only a baked brick, inedible. The steamed pudding would have retained its softer texture and moistness.
- 1/2 Cup Lard, Crisco Shortening, Butter, or Suet.
- 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Cups mixed dried Fruits - dark raisins, prunes and anything else you'd like.
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Tbsp Brandy
- 1 tsp each Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves; and 1/2 tsp Ginger (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and lard or shortening.
- In a large pot on the stove top, put the fruits in with the water and the sugar/lard mixture.
- Stir over high heat and see that the sugar dissolves.
- Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook 5 minutes.
- Add baking soda, stir, take the pot off the burner, and let cool on the counter top (sit the pot on a towel).
- Add beaten egg and brandy to the fruit and stir.
- Add the flour and spices and stir.
- Grease a heavy pudding pan or crockery bowl and pour the pudding into it.
- Cover the pan or bowl with aluminum foil and tie it on with string.
- Put the pudding into a larger pot with water to reach half-way up the sides of the pudding pan or bowl.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 5 hours - add water as it evaporates.
- Remove the pudding from the pan, turn it out onto a platter and pour sauce over it (see recipe above).
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