Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home
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.
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.
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grate the carrots into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs and nutmeg to stir to combine.
- Using an electric mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, cream, melted butter, orange-flower water, and sherry until smooth.
- Pour the egg mixture into the carrots and bread and stir to combine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Pour the sauce over the boiled pudding and let it cool to room temperature. The sauce will solidify and become a hard sauce.