Christmas Pudding
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5 from 2 votes

Eliza Acton’s Cottage Christmas Pudding (1845)

A heavy, hearty dessert that is true to the time period.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas pudding, cottage pudding
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 520


  • 24" square of unbleached muslin
  • cooking twine
  • 14 ounces rendered suet*
  • 1 pound all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mashed potato
  • 20 ounces raisins
  • 4 ounces currants
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 pint milk


  • First, make your muslin food-safe by soaking it overnight in cold water, then boiling it for 20 minutes. Rinse it in cold water and hang it in a clean room to dry.
  • Lightly flour the blades of a kitchen grater and grate the solid suet into a bowl.
  • Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way full of water, cover it, and set it on the stove to boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.
  • Rub the grated suet into the dry ingredients until no pieces larger than a pea remain.
  • Add mashed potato and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add raisins and currants and mix until evenly distributed.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs until smooth.
  • Stir the milk into the beaten eggs.
  • Add the milk and egg mixture to the batter and mix thoroughly.
  • Submerge your prepared muslin in the pot of boiling water. Wearing heavy rubber gloves, remove the cloth from the water and wring out the excess moisture.
  • Lay the cloth flat on a clean countertop and liberally sprinkle the center (where you will place the pudding) with flour. Rub the flour across the cloth, ensuring that a circle of at least 16 inches in diameter is coated with flour, and that the flour layer is slightly thicker at the center.
  • Place the pudding batter on the floured cloth. Gather the cloth up around the mixture and, using the cooking twine, tightly cinch the cloth as close to the mixture as possible. Knot the corners together for a more secure seal.
  • Lower the pudding into the boiling water and cover the pot. Boil the pudding for four hours, replenishing the water as necessary.
  • Lift the pudding out of the water and place it in a colander. Cut the string, open the cloth, and turn the pudding out onto a plate to cool. Let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  • To store your pudding for later use, allow it to cool to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap, seal it in an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator. Briefly steam the pudding again before serving.


*To render your own fat, begin with at least 18 ounces of raw suet. First, cut away any visible bits of meat. Then, cut or shred the suet into small pieces. Place them in a slow cooker with half a cup of water and allow to simmer on low, with the cover off, for several hours. The fat will liquefy and separate from the connective tissue, and any excess moisture will evaporate. Be patient; if the suet heats up too quickly, the connective tissue will fry, leeching the taste of cooked meat into what should, ideally, be a flavorless fat.
When the fat has liquefied, pour it through a sieve to separate out the connective tissue particles. These particles can then be discarded, and the liquid fat that remains can be poured into a container to cool. Store in the refrigerator.


Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 492mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.8mg