Vintage Christmas Recipe: British Steamed Pudding

Here is a recipe for an obscure and worthwhile 1905 treat, “Mother Eve’s Pudding” from a British Women’s Cookery Book in my collection. This recipe was submitted by “Miss Orkney from Bervie.” (I found an earlier recipe in poetry form online.) I made this last year and cut the recipe in half, as follows, for a smaller pudding:


2 large eggs

3 oz bread crumbs ground fine  (I used ground gluten-free crackers )

3 oz currants

3 medium apples

2.5 oz sugar (I used brown)

Nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp)


British Steamed  Christmas Pudding (1).jpg


Miss Orkney instructed: Put the bread crumbs in a bowl, add the apples peeled and chopped, then the currants, sugar and nutmeg. Add the eggs well beaten, mix well, pour in buttered mould and boil slowly for three hours.

Uh oh…I wasn’t familiar with steaming a pudding. Thankfully I was able to find this very helpful BBC video that demonstrates how to steam a pudding. I followed the instructions and used parchment paper, aluminum foil, heat safe string and a buttered vintage Pyrex bowl placed on a trivet in a cast iron dutch oven. I filled the water so that it reached halfway up the bowl.
British Steamed  Christmas Pudding (2).jpg

I set the heat on medium and turned it down when it came to a boil. I left it to a slow boil for three hours, checking the water level from time to time.

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What kind of transformation would take place?! It’s not like I could take a peek inside the bowl. I’ve followed many vintage recipes before and oftentimes I was very pleasantly surprised with the end result. Other times, not.  Finally I was able to see what three hours of steaming would do.

British Steamed  Christmas Pudding (4).jpg

You see that? A hot mess! How disappointing!

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But wait! I decided to keep an open mind and continued to trust Miss Orkney. I let the hot mess cool and gently ran a rubber spatula around the edges before flipping it upside down over a serving plate. I lifted the bowl…

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Wow!!! A legit pudding!!! No one needed to know about the ugly underbelly of pudding production (except all of you!)

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I try to minimize vintage cookery drama in the kitchen but I was high-fiving Mrs. O in the sky, and ran over to Wayne with my creation. “I did it! I did it!”

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It was moist, delicately sweet and delicious. We really liked it with vanilla bean ice cream. I may try it with warm maple syrup next, and yes there will be a next time! This little pudding makes eight servings.

Have you ever had or made a steamed pudding?

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