Mom’s “Modern” Plum Pudding

There’s something very grounding about traditions. They link us to the past, and sometimes they even link us to past generations. Such is the case with my mom’s recipe for plum pudding. She’s been making it at the holidays for at least 45 years now. And, my grandmother made it every year for Christmas, as did her mother and grandmother before her. (My mom fondly remembers the Christmas day of her childhood — a horse drawn sleigh ride on the farm, followed by dinner and pudding.) By my calculations then, this pudding has been an Edington family tradition for well over 100 years.

I must tell you though, that the name of this dish is very misleading, as it is neither “modern” nor does it contain any plums. Apparently, it is called “modern” because at the time (100+ years ago), it was a new take on the traditional plum pudding made with preserved or glazed fruit and nuts. The grated carrots and potatoes, (without any egg) make this a unique take on “The Pud”. I would describe it as a cross between carrot cake and sticky toffee pudding.

Traditional plum pudding is also doused in brandy and lit at the table, or served with brandy butter or a white cream glaze. My mom developed her own version of a Brown Sugar Brandy Sauce for The Pud, which I love so much I could bathe in it. Her pudding and sauce are the reason that I am unable to move after Christmas dinner. The knowledge that this flavor combination comes but once a year prompts the second and third helping. You get the picture. Both ponytails loved it this year, and I guess that makes sense since they always order sticky toffee pudding at our local pub.

Modern Plum Pudding

  • 1 cup grated raw carrot
  • 1 cup grated raw potatoes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup butter or suet
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Grate carrots and potatoes. Measure and set aside. Mix the butter and sugar until well blended. Add ½ of potatoes, and all of carrots. Mix well. Sprinkle raisins and currants with 1 tbsp of the flour and add to the potato mixture. Mix together remaining flour and spices, and add to the mixture. Dissolve soda in remaining half of the potatoes, mix well and add to the mixture. Stir the mixture well. Place in a pudding mold and add lid. Set the mold in a into a large pot filled with water half-way up the mold and steam (with lid on) for 3 hours.

(Before I bought the mold that we use now, my mom always used a small pyrex bowl and covered the pudding with cheese cloth and then wax paper. She placed a rack in the bottom of a canning pot, placed the bowl on the rack and then filled the pot with water until it touched the bottom of the bowl.)

Brown Sugar Brandy Sauce

  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 to 5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp brandy

Melt butter in large frying pan. Add brown sugar and cook until mixture starts to brown (approx. 2 minutes). Add water, and stir. In a small bowl add a bit of water to the corn starch (enough to cover) and mix. Add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar mixture to the cornstarch before adding to the pan. The sauce should be thick enough to nicely stick to the pudding. Add brandy and vanilla. Drizzle the sauce over each piece of pudding before serving.