Plum Pudding

No, we didn't leave an ingredient off the list: Plum pudding does not actually contain any plums. (In the pre-Victorian age, "plums" referred to raisins and other dried fruits.) But once you've recovered from that shocking revelation and tasted the fruity sweet, you'll quickly see why the festive holiday treat was the crowning dish of the Crachit family's Christmas Eve supper in A Christmas Carol. This Southern Living reader's take on the traditional dessert feels just as celebratory, plus her recipe yields 40 servings, so it's well-suited for parties.

Plum Pudding
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins
Makes 5 plum puddings; Serves 40 (8 servings per pudding) (serving size: 1 [1/2-in.-thick] slice)


  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 13 1/2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 pounds finely chopped vegetable suet or beef suet

  • 4 cups (1 qt.) whole milk

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground mace

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 3 1/3 cups currants

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 2 (15-oz.) pkg. raisins

  • 1 cup chopped candied citron

  • 1 cup chopped candied lemon peel

  • 1 cup chopped candied orange peel

  • 1 cup halved candied cherries

  • Cooking spray

  • Boiling water, as needed

  • Hard Sauce


  1. Stir together breadcrumbs, suet, milk, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, and cloves in a 6-quart mixing bowl until well combined. Stir together currants, flour, raisins, citron, lemon peel, orange peel, and cherries in a separate large bowl until combined. Add currant mixture to breadcrumb mixture; stir well to combine.

  2. Spoon about 3 1/4 cups packed mixture into each of 5 lightly greased (with cooking spray) cleaned 1-pound coffee cans or pudding molds. Cover cans with a double thickness of aluminum foil; secure foil with kitchen twine. (Alternatively, tightly cover molds with lids.)

  3. Place cans on a shallow rack fitted inside a large, deep stockpot; add enough boiling water to come halfway up cans. Cover stockpot; steam puddings in continuously simmering water over medium-low heat until firm and cooked through, 3 to 4 hours, adding more boiling water as needed to maintain water level. Remove from heat. Transfer pudding in cans to a wire rack; let cool 10 minutes, then turn upside down to unmold. Slice and serve warm with Hard Sauce.

  4. To store puddings, wrap each unmolded pudding in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator up to 5 days. To reheat, unwrap and microwave on HIGH until warmed, 20 to 30 seconds.

Chef's Notes

Depending on size of kettle and steaming utensils used, you may need to use more than one kettle, or repeat steaming process.

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