I have been wanting to try one of the recipes for carrot pudding in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book but they all required 3 hours of steaming. Today I had time to make the pudding and let it bubble away for the required amount of time. I selected Mrs. John McDougall’s recipe for Carrot Pudding which has the word Good added to the title.
I’m having difficulty locating Mrs. John McDougall in the census. In 1901 there is a John A. in Woolwich Township but he is a widower. Perhaps he remarried by 1906? There’s another in Galt (now part of Cambridge) who is not married in 1901 and he is still single in 1911. However, in the 1911 census there is a John McDougall in Galt with a wife and two young children. His wife is Jeanie and according to the Generations website she is Jeannie Willison Cowan. Usually the Berlin Cook Book mentions if someone is from beyond Waterloo or Berlin but perhaps that wasn’t included. John (42) and Jeannie (37) live on Chisholm street in Galt with their two daughters age 6 and 8, attending a Presbyterian church. Their heritage is listed as Scottish and John is a patternmaker in a foundry.
I measured out the suet first as mine is stored in the freezer and needed to warm up a bit. Suet is a harder type of animal fat and is typically used in steamed puddings and mincemeat pies. This fat comes from around the kidneys of cattle. In 2012 chopped suet can be found in the meat section of grocery stores in November and December and sometimes into the early part of the winter since some people use it in bird feeders too. I stocked up when I started this project which is why it is in a modern appliance.
I measured the currants, brown sugar, and flour and added them to the bowl. I chopped the raisins and added them also. I continued to add the dry ingredients and estimated that 1 nutmeg would become 1 teaspoon grated. Normally I use fresh whole nutmeg and grate it myself, but my grocery store no longer stocks it and I haven’t yet journeyed to a specialty store to buy some. One large carrot and one large potato provided just the right amount when grated. I added the molasses last which might have been a mistake. It was very difficult to mix together. I used the best tools available — my hands to get the mixture to blend. This was the strangest pudding “batter” I’ve seen as I had to take handfuls and place it in the pudding mold. I’d greased the mold earlier and had a pot of water on the stove ready to receive the filled mold. I turned on the heat and let it simmer away for the suggested 3 hours. It is important to check on it every 1/2 hour or so to ensure there is enough water.
After three hours, I removed the mold from the water and turned the pudding out on a plate. It smelled good and looked much like any steamed pudding. In this case the raisins were distributed well throughout the pudding. Rather than cover the pudding with any sauce I ate it plain with a little butter. The texture of the carrot pudding is slightly different than other types of pudding. In some ways the shredded carrot replaces ingredients like peel. Carrot pudding became very popular in North America during both world wars and the economic depression of the 1930s since it used less of the expensive and imported ingredients found in most plum puddings. I have friends whose families have carrot pudding as their traditional Christmas pudding.
I would make this pudding again especially since it doesn’t contain any of the peel dreaded by so many people. I’m not sure whether the potato and carrots make it any healthier than a regular steamed pudding but I’ll pretend it does and have another piece of Mrs. McDougall’s Carrot Pudding later and echo her title — it is Good.
CARROT PUDDING — GOOD
1/2 cup molasses, 1 cup grated carrot, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup grated potatoes, 1 cup raisins chopped, 1 cup currants, 1 cup suet chopped fine, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 nutmeg grated, 1 teaspoon soda, pinch of salt. Steam 3 hours.