Recipes For Traditional Steamed Pudding and Carrot Pudding From the UK In the 1700s

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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.

5 stars from 1 rating of Carrot Pudding

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.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Ready in: 4 hours 20 min
  • Yields: At least 8 slices.

Ingredients

  • 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.
Source

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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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Comments 17 comments

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

Both of these puddings sound wonderful. Now I'm getting in the steamed pudding mood! If they originated from Scotland and England somewhere they must be authentic, too. I like the idea of adding molasses to the first for a darker pudding. I like the idea of brandy sauce on the side. Thank you!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Yes, use brandy instead of vanilla in the Sauce. I like really moise fruitcake as well. If it's dry, it's dead.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

I agree! That's why American fruitcake has such a bad reputation. It's hard to beat a moist homemade fruitcake!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

You are making me hungry! Tmie to make the puddings...


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 3 years ago from Scotland

Hi Patty, thanks for this, you nailed it, the steamed Christmas pudding is exactly what I was looking for.....jimmy

My Mom also used to put coins into the mix but that is considered unsafe these days.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 3 years ago from Rome, Italy

This is the circuitous route to learning about British Christmas Puddings but a lot of fun and I love your family stories.

Christmas Pudding has to be made in September, and kept in a safe place in the barns (away from mice) traditionally, or in a larder so that the fruit matures. You have to fold a few coins up in wax paper and hide them in the pudding so that some folk get the lucky coins.

Before serving the pudding you pour some rum or brandy over it, turn the light out, then set a match to it so that it burns red all over. Do you think I should write a hub about all those traditions?

Enjoyed yours so much. Voting as always.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Hi Jimmy! - We never knew about the coins, but that's similar to coins or the tiny doll placed into the King's Cake at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It sure takes a lot of steaming.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

GoodLady! - Yes it is circuitous, by way of somewhere in the UK to NY, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and then Ohio. Changed a little each place, I'm sure.

Please write about the other traditions, because we never knew them. I doubt the puddings lasted from September to Christmas on our farms, especially during The Great Depression; but, it would be great to taste an aged one.

How about making pillowcases on New Year's Day? - Do you or any of your friends or family do that?


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 3 years ago from Rome, Italy

I haven't heard of pillowcases on New Years Day, but that doesn't mean much. The UK has so many regions, each with their own traditions and customs; I can imagine that in Lancashire where the cotton mills were, they would make pillowcases. Interesting. Let me think.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Patty, lard is a very interesting ingredient. I have used it in an old-fashioned ginersnap cookie recipe. You can't duplicate that lard flavor with anything else!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Thank you, GoodLady! I really enjoy learning about British and all the UK and Northern Ireland traditions.

Maren Morgan M-T -- I haven't had a good Ginger Snap for ten years, or Gingerbread either. The next time I see lard, probably in an Amish store, I'll get some and try the snaps. I remember one pie I enjoyed in a southern restaurant - it had lard in the crust and was flakiest and best tasting. Delicious! Probably on the farm after butchering the hog, they'd render the lard and have enough for another year.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Patty - I was actually able to buy lard in a grocery store refrigerated case. I had to ask an employee from the meat department if they had any, and he walked me right to it!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I will look there in my local supermarket!


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 3 years ago from Rome, Italy

Patty, I linked to your hub with mine on Traditional Christmas Pudding! (which uses suet!) Your hub inspired me to get it written. Hope you like it.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I;m sure I will! I am excited about reading it very soon.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

These sound good to me. I have never heard of a carrot pudding. I voted up and I'm going to pin them so I can keep track of the recipes.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I like pinning recipes, too! That's faster than writing down recipes for the recipe box.

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