Cooking Classes


Never Too Early to Make Your Plum Pudding

I know, Christmas planning already?  I am not that organized but The Daring Bakers' Challenge for April is to make a steamed pudding.  This pudding is really best when made a year in advance and allowed to mellow. It was customary to make it early in Advent — the religious season before Christmas — and use it the following year. Everyone in the family was supposed to stir the pudding once for good luck. If you can't make it the year before, at least give it a few weeks to age.

I used my vintage pudding mold from Shelley, England.  This is the same mold I used for the Champagne and Raspberry Congealed Salad!
I made carrot pudding, like my Mom used to, and it will sit in my cold room until Christmas.  This is a recipe that I found while reading old community cookbooks about a month ago.  Of course it had no booze in it.

The carrot pudding doesn't fulfill the complete requirements for this challenge however, so I also made an English Plum Pudding.  It has all the booze and suet that will make it lovely and also fulfill the requirements for this challenge.  (Which is to use suet)

The April 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen.  She challenged everyone to make a very traditional British pudding using, if possible, a traditional British ingredient: suet.

Superb English Plum Pudding            from

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)
  • 1 pound seedless raisins
  • 1 pound sultana raisins
  • 1/2 pound currants
  • 1 cup thinly sliced citron
  • 1 cup chopped candied peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound finely chopped suet - powdery fine
  • 1 1/4 cups cognac

  • 1 1/4 pounds (approximately) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1 cup sherry or port
  • 12 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cognac
Blend the fruits, citron, peel, spices and suet and place in a bowl or jar. Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days, adding 1/4 cup cognac each day.
Soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry or port. Combine the well-beaten eggs and sugar. Blend with the fruit mixture. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Put the pudding in buttered bowls or tins, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover with foil and tie it firmly. Steam for 6-7 hours. Uncover and place in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes. Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with foil and keep in a cool place.
To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. Sprinkle with sugar; add heated cognac. Ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce or cognac sauce.

This next recipe is from an old community cookbook.  My mother made this a lot and she would steam it in glass quart sealers (what we used to call canning jars).  That was before we converted to metric!  The recipe does not give a lot of direction regarding steaming.  I guess back then everyone knew how to cook.  I was afraid of the pudding rising (note the baking soda) so I split this between two quart sealers.  Yes, I found some quart (not litre) sealers!  We usually just had it with a brown sugar hard sauce.  I have a recipe for Stem Ginger Hard Sauce here.

I put a piece of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and covered with the glass top and loosely put on the screw-ring.  I put the jars in a stock pot with a rack on the bottom and filled with hot water to almost halfway up the jar.  Then I steamed them for 3 hours.

Carrot Pudding        adapted from The New Eastern Star Cookbook  1952

½ c butter
1 c sugar
1 c grated carrots
1 c grated potato
1 ¼ c flour
1 t baking soda
¼ c hot water
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ t allspice
¼ t salt
1 c raisins
½ c chopped walnuts
1 t vanilla

Cream butter; beat in sugar.  Add carrots, potato and flour.  Dissolve soda in hot water; add to mixture.  Blend in remaining ingredients in order listed.  Pour into well-greased mold.  Place waxed paper over pudding; cover with lid.  Steam for 3 hours.

 Brandy Sauce                 from Spoonful of Thyme
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 1/2 T milk
1 egg beaten
1/4 c brandy, or to taste

In medium saucepan, cook over low heat the sugar, butter and milk until the sugar dissolves.  Cool 5 minutes.  Stir in beaten egg and liquor to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. That mold is just too darn gorgeous, Sarah. You are inspiring me to do a pudding now.. I always forget until it is too late. But a well seasoned pudding is the best. WOnderful post!

  2. Deana> it is a great mold. What a waste to not have used it for 20 years! Now you know why I made the stem ginger! Experimenting for Christmas.

  3. Sarah, everything about your pudding is wonderful. The mold is gorgeous and I'm sure it tasted even better! Congratulations!

  4. Plum Pudding!! I have always wanted to make it. You have motivated me! It looks fabulous. Your mold is so cute. I will be talking to you about the pudding....

  5. Renata> thank you! It was delicious and smells great in my cold room.

    Kate> I used your brandy sauce. It was perfect.

  6. Oh my goodness - what exactly is your new address? I'm leaving right now! LOL Love them both. My Mother made carrot pudding every year for Christmas and Plum Pudding's my absolute fave - course I don't mind marmalade pudding either. Oh dear. I guess the true story is there isn't one I don't like! Tee,hee

  7. That mold is soooo gorgeous! Beautiful pudding!

  8. June> you are too funny! None of my family likes Christmas pudding or cake but I love them. I should try marmalade pudding. I made some nice marmalade with clementines.

  9. ap269> thank you for stopping by.

  10. An old family recipe at Christmas for us was a steamed cake from England called "Sailor Duff". It has many similarities with your treat!

  11. I love that mold Sarah, it's gorgeous! I learnt something about pudding, I didn't know we could make a pudding one year in advance.
    Great job on this challenge.

  12. Mamatkamal> When I made Xmas cakes, I would always make them at least 3 months in advance. I think it is the suet that helps these age nicely.

    Buffalodick> Sailor Duff, is that the same as Figgy Duff? Others in this challenge made some amazing puddings. I will have enough puddings for the next 2 years!

  13. I had no idea you could make puddings that much in advance. I would have thought mould would be a problem. My mother makes ours in October/November for Christmas.

  14. Your plum pudding is stunning, and the carrot one sounds really interesting! Well done on the challenge:)

  15. Mary> thank you for stopping by. The carrot pudding is way less rich but with the brandy sauce, yum.

  16. That's a great-looking mold! I wish I had a cool place to store a pudding for a year. I'd love to try that!

  17. That mold is pretty, and your pudding look superb. Well done on this month challenge.

  18. Elra> thanks
    Lisa> this is the first time I have had a cold room! I am so excited.

  19. What a beautiful pudding! I rarely make those but should because I know your version must be delightful!

  20. citron> this is the first time I have actually made one. They are so rich that one wouldn't eat a lot.

  21. I love that mold...I'm very fascinated by British food...I'd love to try it...Looks beautiful...almost too pretty to eat.

  22. Bo> thanks for stopping by my blog. I am sorry it took me so long to try it. I will be looking for other ways to use it now. Perhaps a pate or something.

  23. I've never had steamed pudding. What is it similiar to?

  24. Pam> this one is really like a Christmas cake but softer and served with a sauce. Others were just like baked pudding breads.

  25. Hy Pam,

    Interesting recipe. I love your blog and the colourful cute clicks. Will definitely try this dear.

  26. Your pudding is gorgeous! The mold was perfect for this challenge. I definitely regret not doing the sweet version looking at both of your options.

  27. Sarah> thanks. I made the sweet version so I wouldn't have to eat the whole thing right away! I can put these away and even use for gifts at Christmas time. These challenges usually make way more food than one person can eat!

  28. As I was reading and looking at your pics, I was suddenly taken back to England and specifically to my favorite author, Agatha Christie, who used to mention these puddings in so many of her books; I love the fact that you are always so authentic in your kitchen creations; great, great job!

  29. Joumana> thank you. This takes me back to my childhood. Although, we never had a nice mold, just jars.

  30. That is the nicest looking pudding I have seen and that mould is beautiful (I'm a little envious) superb effort on this challenge and that carrot pudding is to die for. This challenge was so fun for you. Kudos on your results. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  31. Thanks for stoppping by, Audax. Yes, this was fun! I finally got the courage to use the mold that has been sitting in my storage room for 20 years. I am already looking forward to Christmas so I can see how the aging process helps these pudddings.

  32. My eyes got big when I saw a cool dozen eggs in there! Gorgeous mold. Turned out VERY pretty. Great job!!

  33. Jessica> yes, don't all those eggs make you feel like you are on the farm!

  34. I love, love, love your mold!! And what a gorgeous pudding. Bring on the brandy sauce too!

  35. Mmm... plum pudding, you're right... it's never to early (I could eat it all year round). The mold you used is beautiful, and your pudding looks divine. Great job and keep up the great bakes.

  36. Barbara> a woman after my own heart!

    Silverrock> thanks for stopping in.

  37. Beautiful! But nothing will last in my house for a year. Sad, but true. For the past couple of years, I've made a Yorkshire Pudding to go with my standing rib roast for Christmas. I enjoy it.

  38. Marjie> I have never made a Yorkshire pudding but love 'em. That is something you would 'never' see on a Christmas table in Canada! Nor any holiday, for that matter! It would be a fancy dinner for guests or family though.

  39. So, is the carrot pudding really staying in cold storage until Christmas, 8 months from now? And did you make them in the jars or was that just a smaller version for the challenge? Those are great looking puddings! Love the mold for the plum pudding. Nice job on the challenge!

  40. Betz> I had second thoughts on the carrot pudding. I have it in the freezer now. I did make it in the jars. It isn't a large quantity in that recipe. The pudding did rise so best to split between two jars. The plum pudding is in my cold room and will stay there until Christmas. My mother would have done the carrot pudding in a water bath but I'm not comfortable with that. If I had my wits about me, I would have processed in a pressure canner. That would be the way to go. Darn!

  41. Your carrot pudding looks just like mom's suet pudding used to look every Christmas for years and years. I know make sticky toffee pudding every year... but, honestly, I do miss mom's suet pudding. It was just so rich that each of us would eat so little, and there was always too much wasted each year.
    Your pudding looks gorgeous!

  42. what an awesomely dense and delicious dessert! like everyone else, i'm pretty keen on your unique and elegant mold--great, nay, PERFECT use for it!

  43. That's really a beautiful pudding mould. And I saw your carot pudding in the jars at the forum. Was looking forward to this post to see the recipe.

  44. You had me at pudding, the mould is the icing on the cake... er, pudding . Thank you for sharing a wonderful post.

  45. Hi,
    Just wondering where you got that mold from?

  46. I made this a couple years ago and we enjoyed it very much. It is delicious! Making it again now.


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