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Chef Jessica's Nana's Holiday Pudding Recipe

Chef Jessica's Nana's Holiday Pudding Recipe

Chef Jessica of the Cookery family has kindly shared her Nana's holiday pudding recipe with us!

In this second week of holiday recipe sharing, Cookery's Chef Jessica is sharing the wonders of the traditional holiday pudding - with help from Nana Roberts' family recipe. If you've never experienced the wonder of British-style pudding, you are in for a treat!

This is not a creamy bowl of North American style chocolate pudding.  It's a beautifully moist cake, full of fruit and nuts, served warm with a decadent dollop of sweet, boozy butter sauce!

This medieval dessert has a quirky and fascinating history, much like Britain herself! Surviving centuries to make it to our family, so we can share it with yours!  It was born of medieval times, survived accusations of paganism & idolatry, puritanical yule bans, and finally experienced a revival by a German-born King who loved the holidays.

Holiday Pudding is a recipe that truly encompasses the meaning of the holidays, long-lived traditions, decadence, and family. 

Thank you to Chef Jessica for sharing her holiday tradition with us 

Nana Roberts' Holiday Pudding Recipe 

Makes 4x 1.75 L puddings using Mason Cash pudding bowls 
After the first steaming, puddings can be cooled completely and wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen. Puddings can be steamed for their second steaming from from frozen. 


  • 2 lb (908 grams) seedless raisins 
  • 2 lb (908 grams) currants
  • 1 lb (454 grams) beef suet- can substitute with the same amount of grated frozen shortening (not lard or butter) for a vegetarian version. 
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 cups red wine


  1. Cut a circle of wax paper to fit on top of each pudding bowl.
  2. Butter pudding bowls and butter one side of each wax paper circle
  3. Combine all ingredients except wine in a very large mixing  bowl.
  4. Add the wine and stir to combine.
  5. Place batter into well-buttered pudding bowls leaving 1" space at top of bowl. 
  6. Place buttered wax paper on top of the puddings, buttered side down, and press down.
  7. Cover top of each bowl with foil
  8. Tie tightly with cooking twine to seal well.
  9. To steam, place each pudding into their own pot with lid and pour in enough water to come up the side of the bowl by 1 inch.
  10. Cover pot with lid.
  11. Turn burners on to medium heat and bring water to a boil.
  12. Reduce heat to a simmer and steam puddings for 6 hours, periodically checking that the water in the pot hasn't evaporated. Add more water if necessary.
  13. After first steaming, remove carefully from pot and allow to cool.
  14. Remove from bowl, wrap well and freeze until ready to eat
  15. If making ahead, puddings can be made and refrigerated up to a week before eating. Otherwise, freeze. 
  16. To steam before eating, place pudding back into a buttered pudding bowl and cover again with wax paper and foil.
  17. Steam, in the same manner as above, for 2 hours.
  18. Turn out pudding onto a serving platter and enjoy hot with hard sauce. 

"Hard Sauce" From Laura Secord 1966

Makes 1 cup. 
Chef Jessica and her family use the Hard Sauce recipe from The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book printed in 1966.
"Hard sauce melts delightfully on holiday pudding. Our English friends know it as brandy or rum butter." Excerpt taken from the cook book.


  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 tbsp rum, brandy or sherry (Chef Jessica likes a little more rum)


  1. Cream the butter. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until fluffy.
  2. Blend in the rum.
  3. Chill. Serve cold. A good dollop on top of hot holiday pudding. 


Recipe halves easily and steamed pudding freeze well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tinfoil and keep frozen until next year.
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