To Make a Carrot Pudding

You don’t have to have colonial cooking equipment to prepare a colonial recipe, just a pot of boiling water and a sheet of tightly woven linen. The boiled pudding is a classic English Christmas tradition; it is often soaked in rum or brandy and lit on fire right before being served.

18th Century

You must take a raw carrot, scrape it very clean, and grate it; take half a pound of grated carrots, and a pound of grated bread, beat up eight eggs, leave out half the whites, and mix the eggs with half a pint of cream; then stir in the bread and carrot, half a pound of fresh butter melted, half a pint of sack, and three spoonfuls of orange-flower water, a nutmeg grated, sweetened to your palate; mix all well together, and if it is not thin enough, stir in a little new milk or cream; let it be of a moderate thickness, lay a puff-paste all over the dish, and pour in the ingredients; bake it; it will take an hour’s baking: or you may boil it; but then you must melt butter, and put in white wine and sugar.

Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, pg. 244.

21st Century

    • 1/2 lb. carrot, scraped
    • 1 lb. bread crumbs
    • 4 eggs plus 4 yolks (you can use an equivalent amount of egg substitute or omit extra yolks)
    • 1 cup cream (you may use skim milk or low fat cream or evaporated milk)
    • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, optional
    • 1 cup Crème Sherry
    • 3 tsp. orange-flower water
    • 1 whole fresh nutmeg, grated
    • 1 cup sugar
    • Puff pastry for a 9” pie pan

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ½ lb. butter
  • 1 cup Crème Sherry

To Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grate the carrots into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs and nutmeg to stir to combine.
  3. Using an electric mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, cream, melted butter, orange-flower water, and sherry until smooth.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the carrots and bread and stir to combine.
  5. Line a 9 inch pie pan with puff pastry. Pour in the mixture and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until set. When done, allow it to cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature.

To Boil

  1. If boiling, bring 4 quarts of water up to a rolling boil. Inspect your pudding cloth (2 foot square of heavy muslin) to ensure there are no holes or rips.
  2. Prepare a pudding cloth by saturating a dense muslin cloth in hot water, then buttering and flouring it like a cake pan. Then put the cloth in a colander with the sides of the cloth draped over the colander. Pour the carrot mixture into the center of the cloth. Gather up all the sides of the cloth into one hand, making sure there are no gaps or turned-under sides. Imagine making it into a balloon, or a money bag. Wrap the neck of the bag with heavy string. Inspect the bag again to ensure there are no gaps or rips.
  3. Place the bag into the boiling water and keep the pot boiling for at least 50 minutes to an hour. The pudding will swell during the cooking and will become hard like a basketball when done.
  4. When finished, put the pudding back into the colander and untie the cloth. Drape the cloth over the sides of the colander, exposing the pudding. Then invert a serving plate on top of exposed pudding. Holding the plate against the colander, invert the colander onto a flat surface. Remove the colander and then carefully peel the cloth from the pudding.

Making the Sauce

  1. Make the sauce by combining the sugar, butter, and sherry in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all the butter and sugar are melted.
  2. Pour the sauce over the boiled pudding and let it cool to room temperature. The sauce will solidify and become a hard sauce.

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23 Responses to “To Make a Carrot Pudding”

  1. December 19th, 2010

    Martha & Dick Hartley says:

    The carrot pudding is a splendid visual to show folks just what a boiled pudding is! So many people have no idea. We can’t wait for the next video. Martha & Dick

  2. January 14th, 2011

    Carolina says:

    I’ve done several boiled puddings, but usually of things like egg or liver. Have never done a boiled carrot. However, I have done many a baked carrot pudding (see photo). Love making both kinds!

    • January 14th, 2011

      Historic Foodways says:

      We are glad to see people are trying some of the recipes; It is fun to do both a baked one and a boiled one to compare. I love the carrot pudding personally, I much prefer it to pumpkin.

      Frank Clark, CW Foodways

  3. January 31st, 2011

    pam williams says:

    Along with the French Way Chicken, I made the carrot pudding this weekend.

    Much lighter than I thought it would be…also needed to cook it a bit longer than directions. Did maintain a rolling boil the entire time, but took longer than the stated time.

    Baked one next time.

    Sauce is unbelievably good.

    Pam Williams

  4. February 10th, 2011

    Pam Williams says:

    Boiled Carrot Pudding…Pam Williams

  5. February 10th, 2011

    pam williams says:

    I was slightly heavy handed with flour when I did the pudding cloth, hence it ended up with a little white sort of white crust, which was not a bad thing. I used crumbs from a stale loaf of challah, which made the pudding much ligher than any I’d made before. Drained in redware colandar, still in the cloth, which gave it a nice round shape. The sauce is not in the photo…it is superb.
    (and thank you to whomever moved this picture to its correct location.)

  6. February 12th, 2011

    Cami Henderson says:

    Would it make a difference to flour the cloth after you butter it, while it is still lying flat? Also are you supposed to light the pudding on fire, if so how do you do that? (I assume just after putting the sauce on top)

    • February 16th, 2011

      Historic Foodways says:

      You are certainly welcome to butter and flour the cloth while it is flat on the table. When you poor in the batter you do want it to be in a colander to help with the round shape. You may need to re-flour the cloth after putting it in the colander. To light them on fire after they are made, put them in a tin cake pan and soak it with brandy or rum for up to a month adding more liquor every few days. Then right before serving, dose it again and light it on fire. BE CAREFUL!
      Good luck,
      Frank Clark

  7. February 23rd, 2011

    Here is the baked carrot pudding I did while cooking at the Philadelphia Campaign 1777 at Brandywine Creek State Park in Delaware last year. It came from the receipt “A Carrot Pudding” by Edward Kidder, 1740, page 20.

  8. March 10th, 2011

    Alena says:

    Is it possible to freeze the pudding after you place it in the cloth, but before you boil it? I’d love to be able to do the prep before-hand and the final steps once the guests arrive. Or would that not work because the cloth must be wet?

    • March 10th, 2011

      Historic Foodways says:

      Wow, good question! I honestly don’t know, we have never tried that. You could certainly make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, then put it in the cloth to boil. If you froze it, I think that when you thawed the pudding in the cloth the liquid in the batter would eventually soak through the lining of flour and butter and the pudding could stick to the cloth.

      One of the reasons that doesn’t happen when it cooks is the heat and pressure of the cooking batter inflates the cloth. This is one reason they need to be boiling constantly: to keep the pressure inside even with that of the boiling water outside.

      If you do try try it, I would love to hear what happens.

      Frank Clark

  9. April 7th, 2011

    ann pilgrim says:

    What a great site! Am going to try the carrot puddings. Keep up the great work!

  10. May 2nd, 2011

    Mr. Clark,

    First of all, thanks for putting up this site! I love CW and the historical food programs there have always been one of my favorite parts of the experience.

    I made the carrot pudding for my crew at the “British Grande Illumination” in St. Augustine, Florida this last December and it received rave reviews! Unfortunately, it was devoured before I could get a photo. Gues I’ll just have to try again…

    Thanks again, and I look forward to more recipes.

    CSM II

  11. November 29th, 2011

    Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this wonderful site. My daughter’s class will visit Williamsburg this spring, and the girls are going to do some baking for their class Christmas party in a few weeks. These recipes will be perfect.

    • November 29th, 2011

      Historic Foodways says:

      Elizabeth–we’re thrilled that you enjoy the recipes. We hope your daughter and her classmates have success with their baking and that they have a wonderful spring visit to Williamsburg.

  12. March 14th, 2012

    Ann See says:

    It would be helpful to say how many cups of bread crumbs. I don’t know about others, but I don’t use scales for measurements in my cooking.

    • March 14th, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      I guess we are both victims of our times; where you rarely use scales when cooking, we rarely use measuring cups when we cook. So I will be taking an educated guess at around three cups of bread crumbs. I should point out that it is also a matter of personal preference. When I make this recipe, I like them to be denser than the ones you see in the video. So the more liquid, or conversely, the less bread crumbs you put in, the looser the batter gets.

      So do you want a flat disk like a pancake? (less bread crumbs) or do you want them to be rolled into little balls almost like a hush-puppy (more bread crumbs). I tend to go for the denser version myself. When we first wrote this recipe up and filmed it, It started a bit of a debate amongst the foodways staff as to how we each like to make them. I won, so before we posted the recipe, we took out 2 eggs and 1/4 of the cream from our original version to make the batter a bit denser. You can always try both and see which you prefer!

      -Frank

  13. August 24th, 2013

    Lizzie Cooper says:

    I made this pudding boiled last week. It turned out beautiful and delicious!! It was fun just to see how it would turn out after sitting in a big, boiling kettle of water for so long. I served it to some guests and they were fascinated with the technique and thought it was delicious too. Funny how in modern ways we think this is such a unique way of cooking. Thank you once again for a wonderful recipe and the video!

  14. October 6th, 2014

    Frank says:

    Some steamed puddings simply use a bowl on a trivet in the boiling water. This seems simpler than the pudding cloth. Does it make a difference? The steaming times are usually longer than specified on your recipe.

    • November 6th, 2014

      Historic Foodways says:

      That seems to be a little later in time. 18th-century receipts do not mention using a bowl, but our English co-worker Barbara has done it this way a few times.

  15. April 20th, 2016

    Malyson Haight says:

    I made the Carrot Pudding and it was quite interesting. I baked it in a Dutch oven. I didn’t have any Sherry so I used 1/4 cup rum and a little more cream. The alcohol baked away leaving a lovely light rum flavor. Everyone enjoyed it.

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