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Historical Recipe: Christmas Pudding

Andrea Sabean
4.48 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 8


  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar I find this very sweet and personally use only ¾ cup
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup peeled and grated potato
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour this works just as well with gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Brown Sugar Sauce
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Cream butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add in raisins, carrot, potato and egg. Stir in flour and baking soda.
  • Grease 2 small glass bowls or one large bowl. Fill with pudding. Leave about an inch between the top of the pudding and the top of the bowl to give it room to rise.
  • Cover the bowl with a piece of parchment, followed by a piece of tin foil, secured with string. My grandmother used a clean piece of muslin instead of the parchment.
  • The pudding can be steamed in a double boiler, or you can place the pudding in a large pot, placing the pudding bowl on a small ramekin or mason jar ring to keep it off the bottom of the pot. Pour water in the bottom to no more than 1/3 of the way up the sides of the bowl.
  • Steam the pudding for 2 – 3 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. My small puddings are usually done at 2 hours, with a large pudding taking the full three. Add additional hot water to your pot as necessary to keep your pot from boiling dry.
  • Turn the pudding out onto a plate and serve hot with brown sugar sauce.
  • Brown Sugar Sauce Instructions
  • Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in brown sugar and continue to stir constantly until boiling. Boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk and vanilla. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the mixture once again comes to the boil. Thin with more milk or cream if necessary. Serve warm.

How to Make Traditional Christmas Pudding in an Instant Pot:

  • Pour 2 cups of water into the insert.  Place the trivet in the insert, and put the uncovered bowl on the trivet. Create a foil sling to easily pull out the pudding from inside the Instant Pot.
  • Cover with lid, leaving the sealing valve open so it can vent and set to Saute function.
  • Once cooker starts to steam, if using an electric cooker, set to "Less Heat" Saute function. (If using Instant Pot, the "Adjust" button allows you to change Saute setting.)
  • Then steam the pudding for 15 minutes. After steaming, seal the release valve of cooker and turn off from Saute cycle, then set to high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • Once cycle is complete, if using an electric cooker, press Cancel and let naturally release for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  • Carefully lift out the pudding using the foil sling (be careful, the sides of the pot will still be hot).
  • If there are water droplets on the pudding when you remove it from the Instant Pot, gently dab with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Run a knife around the top edge to help the pudding release from the sides of the bowl before inverting on a plate.
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