Steamed Plum Pudding

Made with raisins, figs, currants, citron, and spices, this rich and old-fashioned steamed plum pudding recipe is a Christmas classic.

By Yankee Magazine

Dec 10 2020


Old-Fashioned Steamed Plum Pudding

Photo Credit : Kristin Teig

This steamed plum pudding recipe was adapted from Fannie Farmer’s “English Plum Pudding I” from the 1918 edition of her cookbook, the last one she wrote. It takes time to make, but the rich, old-fashioned flavor is well worth the wait. Top with foamy sauce.


12 thin slices


Unsalted butter (for mold)
1-1/2 cups fine stale breadcrumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1/2 cup shortening, chilled very cold and cut into pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces raisins (just shy of 1-1/2 cups), chopped
4 ounces dried figs (about 3/4 cup), chopped
4 ounces dried currants (about 3/4 cup), chopped
1 ounce citron, finely diced
1/8 cup brandy or grape juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten


Butter a 1-quart mold or 28-ounce aluminum can and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flour, and scalded milk. Let cool slightly.

Add the sugar, raisins, figs, currants, and citron. Fold a few times with a rubber spatula to combine. Add the cold shortening and continue folding, pressing lightly to smooth it into the batter, but not mixing it in completely.

Add the brandy or grape juice, then the spices and salt. Then gently fold in the beaten eggs until just combined.

Turn the batter into the prepared mold or can, tapping it lightly against the counter to disrupt any air pockets. Use string or twine to secure a circle of parchment over the top of the mold or can, leaving about 2 inches of overhang around the rim. Once the parchment is secure, wrap the top tightly in aluminum foil and secure with additional string.

Carefully set the mold onto a rack or trivet in a deep stockpot of simmering water. The water should come
up to around one-third the height of the sides of the mold. Cover the pot and steam 6 hours. Be sure to check the water level periodically and add more if necessary.

After 6 hours, transfer the mold to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove the parchment. You may see some liquid around the sides of the pudding, but don’t worry: As the pudding cools, it will be absorbed. Once the pudding has cooled, cover it tightly with fresh aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, bring the pudding to room temperature and warm the mold slightly by returning it to a bath of simmering water until the pudding is loose enough to turn onto a plate. Serve warm, sliced, topped with classic Foamy Sauce (recipe below).

Foamy Sauce


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons brandy (or vanilla)


Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; then add in the beaten egg and brandy (or vanilla). Transfer to the top of a double boiler and heat over simmering water, stirring continuously, until warm and thickened. Spoon over sliced pudding.