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Plum Pudding Recipe

plum pudding

Plum pudding is a Christmas dessert staple on many tables, especially those whose roots are in the British Isles.

The classic plum pudding recipe calls for the pudding (or cake) to be steamed. It is served with a sauce flavored and scented with sherry or brandy.

This Christmas pudding is a version of Christmas fruit cake.

The steaming softens the cake and makes it beautifully warm. Served with the sweet sherry or brandy laced sauce, it is the perfect ending to a Christmas dinner.

The traditional plum pudding recipe calls for suet, or beef fat. This recipe substitutes vegetable shortening.

The purists may disagree, but I think this recipe is quite delicious.

You can even serve this recipe flaming (see the tips section below).

Served on a beautiful plate, flaming at the Christmas dinner table, this recipe makes a wonderful end to your Christmas dinner.

Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding Recipe

Plum pudding is a Christmas dessert staple on many tables, especially those whose roots are in the British Isles. It is steamed, then served with a sauce flavored and scented with sherry or brandy.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 360 kcal


  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups bread crumbs, soft
  • 1/2 cup shortening, melted
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 cup citron, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry, or brandy or 1 teaspoon sherry or brandy extract


  • Generously grease the bottom and side of a 4 cup mold with shortening.
  • Pour the milk over the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Mix in the shortening and molasses. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the sauce ingredients. Pour the mixture into the mold and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Place the mold on a rack in a Dutch oven. Pour in boiling water up to the level of the rack. Cover and heat to boiling over low heat. Steam for about 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If it is necessary to add water during steaming, uncover and quickly add boiling water.
  • For the sauce, beat the margarine in a small bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until fluffy and light in color. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the sherry. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled.
  • Unmold the pudding, cut into slices and serve warm with the sauce.


Calories: 360kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 428mgPotassium: 383mgFiber: 3gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 61IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • You can also use a 4 cup heat proof bowl.
  • For a dramatic presentation, serve this pudding flaming. Place sugar cubes soaked in lemon extract around the pudding. Light one and watch the flames circle the pudding.

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Plum pudding makes a great Christmas dessert recipe. We also have Christmas fruit cake recipes. Look here.

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Plum Pudding

11 thoughts on “Plum Pudding Recipe”

  1. Is there anything that can be substituted for the lard?
    I want to make this but the lard is a problem for a couple people with heart problems.

    • Pure lard is actually quite healthy. The recipe actually calls for shortening if you look again. The lard, shortening or any other substitutes are all fats, so if you are really trying to avoid fats plum pudding isn’t going to do it.

      • And you are right. It’s the lard in the grocery store that is bad for you, and that’s because it has been turned into a trans-fat. Lard from the pig, that you render yourself, is not a trans-fat and is not so bad for you. It may not be bad for you at all. I imagine butter is worse, as it is obviously a trans-fat.

        They turn lard into a trans-fat so it will be a solid at room temperature. The lard you render yourself, I think, may not do that.

  2. I am shocked, as there are no plums in this recipe! The recipe itself seems labor intensive, as it requires several hours of boiling, however it is well received, by all accounts! I am an American with Scandinavian blood, and a popular holiday recipe for us was always a pudding made from a Rennet base, and after cooked was served as a dessert, topped with a lingonberry sauce. I can’t possibly spell the preparation, but thankfully, it was very easy to eat! Grateful for old country foods that are retained in family meals to this day!

    • I’ve no idea why it’s called plum pudding, or why desserts in UK are called puddings at all. Puddings in the US are something quite different. I made a plum pudding in my twenties — I’m 71 now — when I was home for Christmas, purely out of curiosity. It was quite good, but very much like a fruit cake, which so many people hate today. (I don’t know why.) My mother’s stories about her mother making her fruit cake every year — and aging it in some kind of a tall can that sounds like a milk can, where she soaked it in whatever alcohol — I found fascinating. And then, most unfortunately, she died when my mother, the oldest of five children, was 15. There was some sauce her mother made, which she has never been able to find any trace of. A sweet whiskey sauce of some kind for fruitcake. They would all gather by the fireplace at bedtime and have a slice of fruitcake with this sauce before bed. Until my grandmother died, suddenly and unexpectedly, to be replaced by a stepmother who was herself an orphan, who insisted they move out of their beautiful Victorian house with a wrap-around sleeping porch, to move into one of those ridiculous bungalows, who didn’t allow the boys to shoot marbles on the rug, who chased them with frying pans, who was the quintessential evil stepmother and who removed the very last note that my grandmother left her children when she went into the hospital. She gave away all my grandmother’s things to her (adopted) family, leaving none for my mother, except for a hand mirror and a very cheap roasting pan. To me, that is simply evil. My mother, God bless her, did not tell me that this woman was not really my grandmother until was an adolescent. And it was only when my grandfather was on his deathbed that he told my mother he knew that Mary (the stepmother) had been lying about her all those years.

      • Wow, thanks for that story. I am glad he at least told your mother at the end. So many of us lose those family recipes. Many of them have been lost from my family too. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  3. Pachin

    Janet Forest,
    Cumberland House, Saskatchewan ,Canada
    When I was a little girl growing up every Christmas my grandma would make her best ever cake, but this is no ordinary cake. Grandma would prepare her dry ingredients and her wet ones to add together. When she was done she would stuff her mix into a fabric something like a soft canvas. She would boil this onto a big huge pot for about four hours. When her cake was done, we eat this tasty cake after our christmas meal and it was so delicious. I am sorry I cannot share how she prepared and what she put into her mix, all i remember it was a traditional cake in a fabric and boiled with love. This is an old cree traditional cake.

    • Thank you, that is illuminating!

      To Karen: I steamed my plum pudding somehow, I can’t remember how. I think I put it in stockings and tied a knot between the two round “puddings” and somehow steamed them. SOrry I cannot remember how I did it. I do remember I got the recipe from Joy of Cooking, but this was in the 1970s.


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