Christmas Past: Christmas Pudding

Today you can buy Christmas puddings of various sizes and ingredients in the shops but making your own is still something many people do.

The Christmas pudding , as we now know it has changed a great deal. Originally it was a kind of pottage – a sort of runny porridge filled with dried fruits and nuts. You can find out more about its history here: A history of the Christmas Pudding.

Orcadians made their own in the past and recipes were printed in the local papers. ‘Home Notes’ was a column in the Orkney Herald and Advertiser. In 1930 it contained 3 recipes for Christmas Pudding: Rich Christmas Pudding, Christmas Pudding Without Eggs, and Inexpensive Christmas Pudding.

Here’s what was in the ‘Inexpensive Christmas Pudding’ and the measurements are in what was used at the time:


  • 1/4lb breadcrumbs
  • 1/2lb flour
  • 1/2lb suet
  • 1/2lb sugar
  • 1/2lb Valencia raisins
  • 1/2lb orange peel
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 saltspoonful salt
  • 1 apple or 1 carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2pint milk
  • 2 teaspoonsfuls mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoonful nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoonful baking powder


  1. wash and dry the currants
  2. stone the raisins
  3. orange peel cut into small pieces
  4. grate the lemon rind and squeeze out the juice
  5. If an apple is used, peel and chop finely
  6. If a carrot is used, the red part is grated

Put all the dry ingredients into a basin, including the apple, the lemon rind and juice, and mix them all together.

Beat the eggs well and add them to the milk and pour into the ingredients in the bowl.

Mix thoroughly.

Butter a pudding basin or mould, and pour the pudding in.

Cover with a piece of buttered paper and steam for 4 hours.

Serve hot with custard or sweet melted butter sauce.

[Ref Herald and Advertiser, December 10th 1930]

James Petts from London, England, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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