Skip to content

Getting steamed

December 18, 2008


//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
Mock Plum Pudding

Even though my folks went through the Great Depression, I never really heard a lot of whining about the situation.   They weren’t married at the time, but my mom was able to keep her job in town, and my dad was in the firewood business as well as farming.  There was always plenty of food to eat and in later years, I think the stories were told and retold to reflect the relief they felt about having survived such an economic disaster relatively unscathed.  Two of our yearly Christmas dessert recipes are from that time, a hold over from when times were tough.  I will share the most frugal one and my personal favorite with you, since I think this way of cooking and thinking is starting to come back into style.  This tastes so good, you would never know you are scrimping.  It is also very rich, a little goes a long way.  I think when times are tough, we need a little comforting, and this is comfort food.

//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
Frugal because the main ingredients are always on hand, and the method of cooking is steaming.  Steamed puddings are an old fashioned dessert, this one is moist, dense and less expensive to make than fruitcake.

Easy to make, it cooks slow and long at a low temperature.  It can be cooked on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a pressure cooker.  No special pans or dishes are required. 

//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
Cream butter and sugar, add grated carrot and potato.


//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
Add dry ingredients and raisins and mix thoroughly.  This will look very dry but it will surprise you how moist the finished product is.  Spoon into greased molds, filling about 2/3 full.

My mom used to use cans saved from store bought foods just for this pudding, however I can no longer recommend that practice because of changes in the food industry.  Some food cans are lined with Bisphenol A, and some believe it to be harmful to humans.  I’m going to err on the side of caution and not risk my daughter’s reproductive health, so I used canning jars.  They can withstand the heat required to cook these puddings and they are well, err, handy, since I don’t really buy much canned food anyway.

//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
Cover molds tightly with foil and place on rack (I used canning rings) in pan.  Fill pan with hot water about halfway up the mold.  Cover pan and steam for 3 hours.  My roaster was busy so I just used foil for a lid on my pan too and it worked great.   Just to make sure I’m not confusing you – cover puddings and the pan you cook them in.  This is very easy to cook on top of any woodstove, it doesn’t have to be a cookstove.

Oven:  Same except bake/steam at 275*F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Pressure cooker:  Add 4 cups water and rack, place molds on rack.  Cover and let steam escape for 30 minutes.  Set control for 5 lbs and cook for 30 minutes after control jiggles.  Reduce pressure instantly after cooking, following instructions for your pressure cooker.

Cool before unmolding.  These keep several weeks, wrapped in foil and kept in a cool place.  I have never frozen them, but I think they would keep exceptionally well in the freezer also.

//" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>
A very rich dessert usually served with hard sauce.  I like it just plain with coffee. 🙂


1 c grated carrot
1 c grated potato
1 c sugar    
white, brown, combination or 1/2 c sugar & 1/2 c molasses
1/3 c fat         butter, suet*, lard
1 c flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/4 cloves
1 c raisins

Measure dry ingredients into sifter.  Cream butter and sugar, add grated carrot and potato.  Mix well, add dry ingredients, mix well.  Add raisins.  Mixture will appear dry.  Spoon into greased molds, filling about 2/3 full.   Steam 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
* if using suet, grind with meat grinder with finest blade, it should resemble tapioca pearls.  The suet won’t cream with the sugar, but it will melt during the cooking and lend a richness to the pudding.


1/3 c butter
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c whiskey, rum, brandy ??? of course this part is optional, vanilla would be just as good 😉
Combine all ingredients mixing well.  Serve with steamed pudding.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2008 5:25 pm

    They say that here in the Appalachians, people weren’t effected by the Depression because they didn’t have anything anyway.

    About organic farming – The Organic Consumers Association – thought you may be interested in this link:

    see what you think

  2. December 18, 2008 5:53 pm

    Ooh, that sounds lovely, I may have to try this one. I love the photo with the dog noses sniffing the air by the finished product. I get that at my house, only with just one nose.

  3. December 18, 2008 6:03 pm

    I make one similar but serve it with a sour lemon sauce. I like a caramel sauce but nobody else here does.

  4. December 18, 2008 7:03 pm

    Wow Nita, you’ve been busy. I need to do some catch up reading…I’m 3 posts behind. Love the looks of your soap. I have some beef fat and cow fat so after Christmas I will be digging through your archives to make some soap.

  5. December 18, 2008 7:23 pm

    The unit of measure for the fat is missing. Is it 1/3 cup? I am going to try it this weekend. Good excuse to turn on the oven and fill the house with warm cooking smells.

  6. December 18, 2008 9:06 pm

    Joanna, I think that is true, if there was food on the table, and you had your family about you, you didn’t feel the ripple from stock market crash.

    Thanks for the link, I had sent an email earlier from a different site. Looks like the decision has been made though. 😦

    Judy, those noses are always near when cooking is going on. It’s like having a vacuum cleaner and garbage disposal all rolled into one!

    Linda, I might have to side with Bossman on that one, sour lemon sounds great! But so does the caramel 🙂

    Kim, thanks I keep wondering when things will slow down. Loved your Sunday Stills, but didn’t have time to comment 🙂
    We still haven’t put up a tree yet…

    Matriarchy, thanks! I fixed it, it is 1/3 cup. Sounds like a good excuse to warm up the house to me too! 🙂

  7. December 19, 2008 4:59 am

    This looks great, Nita. I will have you know I made more of your applesauce cake for gifts yesterday, sooo tasty!

  8. December 19, 2008 7:05 am

    Ohhhh, I have to make this! Today!


  9. December 19, 2008 12:44 pm

    Hi matronofhusbandry

    I can’t find an email link so could you email me please? I have a question. Thank you. : – )

    Rhonda Jean

  10. December 19, 2008 6:37 pm

    Boy, this sounds good! We’re in the middle of a winter white-out here, so this will make for a yummy treat. Thank God for the woodstove!

  11. December 19, 2008 11:33 pm

    I’ll have some of that lovely pudding with a dollop of hard sauce (hic!) What a great recipe; I’ve not made anything like that. Reminds me of those amazing English desserts! Hope the blizzard that is forecasted passes you and your by. Be safe (like I know you will) when you rake/sweep the snow off of your greenhouses. Hope your boots are holding up. In a week, this bizarro weather will be gone and we’ll be back to either light snow or drizzle, drizzle, drip.

  12. December 20, 2008 7:21 am

    El, thanks.

    Linda, thanks, I hope you like it!!

    AMWD, I know what you mean, we are in the middle of a winter storm too, nothing better than one more dessert right!
    We haven’t been too far from the stove ourselves. 🙂

    Paula, you’ll like it, very rich though, it doesn’t need the hard sauce…

    My boots ARE NOT holding up, but we are doing OK. We have a foot of snow, but the greenhouses have shed their winter coats. We just have to watch the ice tomorrow. We don’t get that awful wind, so we will warm up a little sooner, but we will have to sneak out the back way and at least we will stay warm, our electronic activities (read blogging) may take a vacation if we lose power! What would Laura Ingalls think of blogging!!

    I meant to tell you about your observation of Ruth Less, she looks exactly like my mother did as a child. She was born late and guess whose birthday she arrived on?? Lots of similarities, almost spooky sometimes!

  13. December 22, 2008 12:36 pm

    What a wonderful recipe. I love steamed pud I can imagine how moist this is with the potato and carrot. It’s on my list.

  14. 39daffodil permalink
    May 5, 2012 9:52 am

    What a great idea to use canning jars instead of cans for steaming! I wonder, could they be used for brownbread as well?


  1. Uncle! | Throwback at Trapper Creek

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: