MacKenzie Family Christmas Plum Pudding

Christmas is just around the corner. Our tree is up, and we are planning our annual Christmas Open House. In my spare time, I also entered the Historic Deerfield/King Arthur Flour Heritage Baking Contest last Saturday. My entry was the MacKenzie Christmas Plum Pudding handed down to me by the Canadian cousins.

My entry ready to be judged

When I married Dan, I asked him about his Christmas food traditions. The first thing out of his mouth was Christmas Plum Pudding. His mother, Jean MacKenzie Lutts, made the pudding every year for the family. She in turn learned the recipe from her mother, Mary MacLeod MacKenzie, who was born on Prince Edward Island (as was Mary’s husband Daniel MacKenzie).

The MacKenzies and MacLeods came to Prince Edward Island in the 1830s after being forced from their land on the island of Raasay in Scotland during the Highland Clearances. There are still many MacKenzie family members on Prince Edward Island and so when I needed the recipe I went to the source.

Marian MacKenzie sent the family recipe along with the story of how all the women knew the recipe by heart. This version comes from the 1950s and is the one used when Dan was growing up.

The first time I made it I was pretty intimidated by the thought of steaming a pudding in water for three hours. But like anything, you just need to do it a few times. It’s really quite simple and the result is a rich, dark cake that’s a perfect holiday treat.

You can steam the pudding either in two metal coffee cans with the top lid removed. Or you can spring for a real pudding mold like I finally did. I got mine on Amazon.

Christmas Plum Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. each of cloves, nutmeg and allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. shredded suet (never fear! I substitute 1/4 cup butter and 1 egg for this)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 1 tbs. brandy
  • 1/2 c. raisins

Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside

Cream the butter and then add the egg and mix

mixing wet ingredients with the dry

Beat in the molasses and brandy

Alternate adding milk and the dry ingredients to the creamed butter beating on low speed after each addition

Gently stir in raisins

Butter your pudding mold liberally

Either divide the mixture between the two coffee cans or add it to the pudding mold

Put the lid on the mold, or if using coffee cans cover the tops with aluminum foil tied on tightly with string

Place a rack on the bottom of a very large pan that can hold your mold

Place the mold (s) onto the rack and fill the pan with hot water

The water should come halfway up the sides of the mold (s)

Cover the pan and let the pudding steam in GENTLY simmering water for three hoursMold in the water ready to steam

Carefully remove the mold and let the pudding cool

When cool unmold

Then the big decision. Hard Sauce or Foamy Sauce. Since I needed to travel with this pudding to Deerfield, I chose Hard Sauce. My recipe comes from The New England Yankee Cook Book, 1939.

  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter thoroughly

Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and cream together until fluffy

Add the cream and vanilla, beating well

Makes 3/4 cup

So you may be wondering if I brought home a ribbon? Nope, but its always fun sharing heritage recipes with like-minded souls.

What heritage Christmas recipe do you cherish from your childhood. I’d love to know! Merry Christmas everyone!




One Response to “MacKenzie Family Christmas Plum Pudding”

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  1. Bev says:

    Armenian Paklava

    My mom made every year until a few years before she pasted away. Then she taught me to make it! i haven’t made it for several years.

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