The Old Manor House Traditional Victorian Christmas Pudding

Total Time
10hrs 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 hrs

I discovered this recipe in an old Victorian scrapbook that I bought in a second hand book shop; the original recipe dates back to 1880, and was the prized Christmas Pudding recipe of the Cook at a Manor House in the North of England. I have made it many times and given smaller versions away as gifts to friends - the lovely thing about this pudding is that it IS fruity and boozy, but it is NOT heavy and stodgy, it is very light for a steamed pudding; this is due to the fact that the recipe does not use flour, but uses bread or cake crumbs instead. The traditional day to make your puddings for Christmas is "Stir-Up Sunday" which is the 5th Sunday before Christmas Day and the Sunday before Advent. You would even be reminded of the fact at the Sunday morning church service, as it was believed that puddings made on this day carried God's blessings to all who partook of it! I always put a lucky silver "sixpence - sixpenny piece" in my pudding - lucky silver charms are also used, and these can still be bought in the UK. Halve the quantities for one large pudding. Merry Christmas!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mix all the dried fruit together, and then add the citrus peel, flaked almonds, spices, ground almonds and salt - blend thoroughly.
  2. Work in the breadcrumbs, sugar and softened butter, mixing well.
  3. Stir the beaten eggs into the mixture and then gradually add the brandy or rum and the stout. Mix thoroughly until a soft dropping consistency has been achieved.
  4. Butter two large (2 pint) pudding bowls and spoon half the mixture into each bowl - smoothing down the surface slightly.
  5. Cover with greaseproof paper and muslin pudding cloths or aluminum foil, and tie them down around the rims, making a loop for a handle to lift the pudding basins out of the steamer later!
  6. Boil the puddings in an open pan or in a steamer for 6 hours - making sure that the water is topped up when necessary.
  7. You can also steam these puddings in a pressure cooker - please follow your manufacturer's instructions.
  8. Remove the greaseproof paper, cloths/ aluminum foil and cover with fresh greaseproof paper and a clean pudding cloth or foil.
  9. Store in a cool place for up to 2 months, although I have kept these puddings for nearly a year!
  10. On Christmas day, boil or steam for a further 4 hours.
  11. To flame the puddings: Turn out the puddings onto a plate. Heat up a tablespoon or two of brandy in a small saucepan until it is warm but NOT boiling, and then pour the hot brandy into a ladle - take the pudding to the table with the ladle and light the ladle with a match - BE CAREFUL! Pour the burning brandy over the pudding and remember to turn the lights out for maximum ooohs and ahhhhs!
  12. Serve with Brandy Butter, Rum Sauce, Custard or Cream. Don't forget the sprig of holly too!
  13. Each pudding serves 6 to 8 people.


Most Helpful

OMG! I adore this pudding and I adore you for bringing it to my kitchen! Made it this year, actually three smaller puddings and I can't rave enough about it. I have two left over and I'll be devouring one tomorrow for New Year's Day. It's one of those recipes that you aren't sure you want anyone else liking there's more for you! LOL! Peace!

What's Cookin'? December 31, 2009

This was wonderful and, as you said, nice and light and fruity. I halved the recipe with no problem. I used a non alcoholic beer in place of the stout and brandy and only needed a little over 2 fluid ounces to get to right dropping consistency. I was a little concerned after the first steam as it looked very pale and sickly! I wasn't too worried because none of the guests would know what it was meant to be like anyway! However after the second steam it darkened up nicely. I'm not a fan of traditional Christmas pudding recipes but this one is keeper. I froze half as I wasn't sure how well it would do without any booze. I'll pop back again and give you an update on how it turns out. Thanks again FT for a great recipe.

Brit in Texas December 29, 2008

Well this certainly looks like it takes a lot of work, but by the sounds of it, it must be worth it. Its sounds absolutly delicious. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow. Sure hopes it turns out as nice as yours looks. Thanks for sharing Frenchie.

Mia #3 December 03, 2008

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