This recipe is as old as recipes can be - my grandmother got it from her mother and she probably got it from hers....and if you still have your grandmother then I'll bet she has eaten this pudding or something very close to it. I make it every Christmas - mainly for me and the memories it brings - the mister hates it and my kids just pretend to like it but I don't think they've ever actually tasted it....all the more for me!
Come to think of it, I don't remember eating this as a child - perhaps you need "grown-up" taste buds to appreciate this...or maybe because it's made with vegetables it gives kids the willies....but it is so good and so .... comforting...yes, it really is comforting and....I know I said this about the gingerbread pudding but this, too, tastes like Christmas!
You can use a special tin to steam this in, like the one I have on the left - it has it's own lid and fluted sides so the pudding looks very pretty when it's unmolded. Or you can use any size can - like the coffee can that is pictured on the right, with the rubber band around the foil. It's a little large but this recipe makes about 3 quarts or enough for 25 people. You can use smaller cans, like a 15 oz. green bean can or something like that, but you will need 3 or 4 of them. That's okay because this would be a lovely gift to give as well.
After securing the tins with foil, lids or rubber bands, you put them into a water bath - simmering water that comes up the sides about 2 inches and you cook the puddings for 2 to 3 hours or until firm in the center.
I like to serve the pudding with vanilla sauce or brandy sauce, depending on who we're serving it to, even a nice Hard Sauce is good too. The recipes for those are below.
Now just because there are fruit and nuts in this pudding, don't make the mistake of thinking it's a fruitcake - it's not....it's moist and soft and has the wonderful flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves. My Mom and Grandma called this Carrot Pudding...but I call it Christmas Pudding...I like to hide the fact that it's made with veggies!
Grandma's Steamed Christmas Pudding - from Annie Merle Conners
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamonzest from one large orange
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups grated carrots, about 6 carrots
2 1/2 cups grated potatoes, about 4 large potatoes
2 1/2 cups grated apples, about 6 small to medium apples
2 1/2 cups currants, optional
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans, optional, but I always add them
1 3/4 cups melted butter or 1 1/3 cups suet, finely ground (I use butter as suet is not on my diet!)
Combine dry ingredients and sift together three times. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into pudding molds or cans. Two 3-pound shortening cans or one shortening can and two or three smaller cans will do. They should be well-greased then filled no more than 2/3's full.
Cover cans with lids or use foil secured with rubber bands. Place on rack in large kettle containing about two inches of water. Steam for about 2 hours or until pudding is light and dry. Makes about 3 quarts, about 25 servings.
Vanilla Sauce or Brandy Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or 3 tablespoons brandy
In a sauce pan or top of double boiler place over boiling water, combine butter, sugar, and cream. Stirring occasionally, cook until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla or brandy. Serve warm sauce over Steamed Christmas Pudding. (The sauce will solidify when it is cooled, to reheat put in microwave for 1 minute.)
Makes enough for 6 to 8 servings.
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3-4 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon orance juice plus 2 teaspoons grated rind
In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the brandy, a little at a time. Beat in the orange juice and rind. Transfer to a serving dish. Sauce may be chilled, covered, but bring to room temperature before serving. This is very much like a buttercream frosting, some people like the "frosting" on top, I prefer the sauce.
Makes 1 cup.
"Never eat more than you can lift." Miss Piggy