Carrot Pudding History & Recipes Through the Ages 

Carrot pudding is a dish traditional to a wide range of cultures around the world. It can be served either as a savoury pudding (as an accompaniment to a regular meal) or as a sweet dessert. I believe there is confusion, because the term "cake" is fairly recent, probably 13th C and it could be that many puddings were in fact cakes - solid pudding.  Read about origin of carrot cake here.

In Oxford Companion to Food, writer Alan Davidson believes that carrots were used in Europe to make sweet cakes. These were a predecessor to the carrot cake. Because sweeteners were rationed during the Second World War carrot pudding was seen as an alternative in the UK. Later on, carrot cake was seen as a 'health food'.

Concealed beneath its decorative puff pastry cover, is a baked pudding enriched with bone marrow and delicately flavoured with rosewater. It belongs to a class of English puddings which were baked in a dish or pastry case, rather than being boiled or 'fired'. Puddings of this kind were closely related to tarts. They were always enriched with butter or marrow, rather than the much heavier suet used in boiled puddings. In his Academy of Armory and Blazon (Chester: 1688), Randle Holme calls this sort of pudding, 'a pudding pie'.

In 1726 Henry Carey wrote a dissertation on Dumplings and Puddings which claims that Puddings developed from dumplings which were basically lentils cemented together with fat. The Britons enhanced this recipe by adding milk and later eggs were included (by accident!) and the first puddings were born. These were made for the court of King John (1166-1216) and the English became known world wide at the great pudding eaters! The cook's son became known as Jack Pudding and was knighted as "Knight of the Gridiron". They had plumb, marrow, oatmeal and carrot flavours.

Although recipes appear in seventeenth century cookery texts, this type of pudding reached its apogee in the following century. Popular flavours were marrow, almond, carrot, chestnut, lemon and Seville orange. Recipes abound in the popular cookery books of the Georgian period.

In Punjab, India, carrot pudding is called Gajar ka Halwa. Carrot pudding has been served in Ireland since at least the 18th century. It was also served in the United States as long ago as 1876.

(Candied Carrots Below (click) - Carrots Torta 1599 here)

 

950 ad - Khabis al-jazar (Carrots): (A carrot pudding)

From Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's cookbook - “The Book of Cookery preparing Salubrious Foods and Delectable Dishes extracted from Medical Books and told by Proficient Cooks and the Wise.” read more 950 carrot recipes here

Choose fresh tender and sweet carrots. Peel them and thinly slice them crosswise. For each pound of honey use 3 pounds of these carrots. Boil the honey and remove its froth. Pound the carrot in a stone mortar.  Set a clean copper cauldron with a rounded bottom on a trivet on the fire, and put in it the skimmed honey and carrots. Cook the mixture on medium fire until the carrots fall apart.

Add walnut oil to the pot. For each pound of homey used add 2/3 cup of oil. Pistachio oil will be the best for it, but you can also use fresh oil of almond or sesame. Add the oil before the honey starts to thicken. However you do not need to stir the pot. You only scrape the bottom gently when mixture starts to thicken to prevent it from sticking to it. To check for doneness, use a stick or a spoon to see whether the pudding is thick enough or not yet.

When pudding becomes thick, put the pot down, and spread the dessert on a copper platter. Set it aside to cool down before serving. It will be firm and delicious.


A Booke of Cookrye 1591

To make a pudding in a Carret root. Take your Carret root and scrape it fair, then take a fine knife and cut out all the meat that is within the roote, and make it hollow, then make your pudding stuffe of the liver of a gooce or of a Pig, with grated bread, Corance, Cloves and mace, Dates, Pepper, Salt and Sugar, chop your Liver very small, and perboile it ere you chop it, so doon, put it in your hollow root.
As for the broth, take mutton broth with corance, carets sliste, salt, whole Mace, sweet Butter, Vergious and grated bread, and so serve it forth upon sippets.


Physicall and chyrurgicall receipts. Cookery and preserves. 1654

This extensive work contains 3 different carrot pudding recipes.

(Eliz. Jacob 1654 on the fifth leaf. Though the beginnings of both sections are written by Elizabeth Jacob, there are many additions by other and later hands, especially by the writer of a neat upright script, which can perhaps be dated c. 1685. - source Wellcome Library)

A Carrett Pudding

Take 2 naples biscakes, a pint of cream one nuttmeg, 4 eggs,2 whites a little rose water, some sack a peece of suet with some butter and sugar. Then take a fine young carret  and scrape it very fine and put it into the other ingredients. Stir them well together,make puff pastry in a dish. when this is baked throw some sugar on it.

(Naples: A type of biscuit flavoured with rosewater.)


From the same source:

 

A Carrot Pudding - Mary Miller 1660 (source Wellcome Library)

 

1675 - Carret Pudding
A Booke of usefull receipts for cookery, etc.1675-c.1700


Take five young carrots free from canker and wash them well. Take a grater and grate them. Then take the weight of your carrots and Naples bisket and mix them together with a pint of cream and the yolk of 8 eggs and three whites.

Some sugar mace, beaten cinnamon

Mix all well together and put into a shallow pewter dish with puff pastry about it. Bake this in an oven and when you take it out  squeeze two oranges upon it and scrape over it with a loaf of sugar. This is a rare pudding and if made well not many will know what it is. (Naples Bisket=dried cookie or biscuit made of sugar & almonds)

Source - Wellcome Library, LondonThe work of the two earliest compilers ends at p. 254. The remainder of the volume consists of medical and cookery receipts by various late 17th cent. hands. Of these the only named compiler is Jane Newton (verso of the 11th un-numbered leaf), who is perhaps the same person as the Jane Whyte who has signed a receipt on the verso of the 8th leaf from the end, which is dated 20 April 1692.

 

Loose Receipts (recipes) 1663-1740

Source Wellcome Library MS 8002/61

1682 - "PUDDING OF CARROT"

Pare off some of the crust of Manchet bread and grate off half as much of the rest as there is of the root, which must also be grated. Then take half a pint of half Cream or New Milk half a Pound of fresh Butter Six new laid Eggs (taking out three of the Whites) mash and mingle them well with the Cream and Butter. Then put in the grated Bread and with near half a Pound of Sugar and a little Salt ; some grated Nutmeg and beaten Spice and pour all into a convenient dish or pan buttered to keep the ingredients from sticking or burning; set it in a quick oven for about an Hour. And so have you a Composition for any Root Pudding. The Sauce is a little rose-water with Butter beaten together and sweetened with the Sugar Caster. (Giles Rose, one of the Master Cooks to Charles II, 1682.)

(From Garden of Herbs 1921 – Eleanour Rohde)

Unknown Ladies Cookbook - more than 350 handwritten recipes dating from 1690 to 1830

To Make Puddings of Carriotts

First cut the roots hollow as children scoope appels. Take out all the pale yellow. Take greated bread, 4 eggs, beat them well, some pounded cinnamon, sugar to yr taste, some currants. Mix all together. Stuf yr carriots. Put in the piece you cut of the top again. Boyle them in clariot & strong greavy & a little sugar, a stick of cinnimon. When the are boiled thicken yr sauce with the whites & yolks of 2 eggs. So serve them. If for a change you may boyle them in water & nothing else. Serve them in butter, sack & sugar for sauce. Besur[e] serve them hot. This is the first course.

Picture credit - Westminster City Archives (UK)


Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets - 1699 John Evelyn

26. Pudding of Carrot. Pare off some of the Crust of Manchet-Bread, and grate of half as much of the rest as there is of the Root, which must also be grated: Then take half a Pint of fresh Cream or New Milk, half a Pound of fresh Butter, six new laid Eggs (taking out three of the Whites) mash and mingle them well with the Cream and Butter: Then put in the grated Bread and Carrot, with near half a Pound of Sugar; and a little Salt; some grated Nutmeg and beaten Spice; and pour all into a convenient Dish or Pan, butter'd, to keep the Ingredients from sticking and burning; set it in a quick Oven for about an Hour, and so have you a Composition for any Root-Pudding.


Receipts (recipes) of Pastry and Cookery For the Use of his Scholars. By Ed. Kidder (1720-1740)

A Carrot Pudding

Boyle 2 large carrots ...pound in a mortar and strain it thro a sive mix it with 2 grated biskets 1/2 a pound of butter sack and orange flower water sugar and a little salt and pint of cream mixt in 4 yolks of eggs and 2 whites beat these together and put it in a dish being covered with puff past and garnish the brim.

(Click on image for full page in detail).

 
Court Cookery or the Compleat English Cook containing the choicest and newest receipts - by R Smith Cook to King William. 1725

Other recipes from this cook book are here (pdf)

Hannah Glasse (1708-1770)

By far the most well known of the 18th century cookbook authors, Glasse’s “Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” 1796 became the cookbook to have if you lived in Britain at the time. Many editions later, it was still being used in the 1840s when Mrs. Beeton’s works hit the market. Although accused of being ghostwritten, her book was well organised and easy to follow without high, ornate language. The book appealed to the upper as well as the middling ranks.

18th Century Carrot Pudding  - You must take a raw carrot, scrape it very clean, and grate it; take half a pound of grated carrots, and a pound of grated bread, beat up eight eggs, leave out half the whites, and mix the eggs with half a pint of cream; then stir in the bread and carrot, half a pound of fresh butter melted, half a pint of sack, and three spoonfuls of orange-flower water, a nutmeg grated, sweetened to your palate; mix all well together, and if it is not thin enough, stir in a little new milk or cream; let it be of a moderate thickness, lay a puff-paste all over the dish, and pour in the ingredients; bake it; it will take an hour’s baking: or you may boil it; but then you must melt butter, and put in white wine and sugar. Watch video of a modern re-creation here.

Glasse's carrot pudding 18th century

English Housewifery Exemplified, by Elizabeth Moxon 1764

135. A CARROT PUDDING.

Take three or four clear red carrots, boil and peel them, take the red part of the carrot, beat it very fine in a marble mortar, put to it the crumbs of a penny loaf, six eggs, half a pound of clarified butter, two or three spoonfuls of rose water, a little lemon-peel shred, grate in a little nutmeg, mix them well together, bake it with a puff-paste round your dish, and have a little white wine, butter and sugar, for the sauce.

27. CARROT PUDDING - another Way.

Take half a pound of carrots, when boil'd and peel'd, beat them in a mortar, two ounces of grated bread, a pint of cream, half a pound of suet or marrow, a glass of sack, a little cinnamon, half a pound of sugar, six eggs well beat, leaving out three of the whites, and a quarter of a pound of macaroons; mix all well together; puff-paste round the dish-edge.

Sauce. Wine and sugar.


 
The Compleat Confectioner Mary Eales confectioner to King William and Queen Ann 1781

Amelia Simmons 1796 - American Cookery, the first known American cookbook, an elegantly simple recipe that requires some guesswork and estimation, but nothing that can hurt so good for experimentation.

Carrot Pudding - A coffee cup full of boiled and strained carrots, 5 eggs sugar and butter, of each 2oz, cinnamon and rose water to your taste, baked in a deep dish, without paste, 1 hour


1802 - The Art of Cookery made easy and refined, comprising ample directions for preparing every article requisite for furnishing the tables of the Nobleman,Gentleman and Tradesman.  By John Mollard, Cook

Carrot Pudding. Take red carrots, boil them, cut off the red part, and rub them through a sieve or tamis cloth. To a quarter of a pound of pulp add half a pound of crumb of french bread, sifted sugar, a spoonful of orange flower water, half a pint of cream, some slices of candied citron, some grated nutmeg, a quarter of a pound of

Boiled fresh butter, eight eggs well beaten, and bake it in a dish with a paste round the rim.


The Cook Not Mad 1831 - Steamed Carrot Pudding "The Cook Not Mad" is a recipe book first published in Canada in 1831, believed to be Canada's first cookbook.

1 cup seedless raisins 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit 1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 cup shortening 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 egg 1 cup finely grated carrot 1 cup finely grated raw potato

Combine the fruits and nuts, and sift over them the flour, salt, soda, and spices. Stir well, to coat the fruit, then add the grated carrot, and potato. Cream the shortening, brown sugar, and egg until light, and fluffy. Stir the flour, and fruit mixture into it, until just well blended. Butter a one, and a half quart mould, or coffee can, and spoon in the batter. Cover tightly with buttered aluminium foil, heavy duty, and steam on a rack in one inch of boiling water, covered, for three hours. Serve hot with Brandy Sauce.

1844 - Steamed Carrot Pudding The Lady's Own Cookery Book, Charlotte Campbell Bury

(New Dinner Table Directory; in which will be found a large collection of original receipts including not only many years of observation, experience and research, but also the contributions of an extensive circle of acquaintance, adapted to the use of persons living the highest lifestyle, as well as those of moderate fortune.)

Carrot Pudding.

Take two or three large carrots, and half boil them; grate the crumb of a penny loaf and the red part of the carrots; boil as much cream as will make the bread of a proper thickness; when cold, add the carrots, the yolks of four eggs, beat well, a little nutmeg, a glass of white wine, and sugar to your taste. Butter the dish well, and lay a little paste round the edge. Half an hour will bake it.

Another way.

Take raw carrots, scraped very clean, and grate them. To half a pound of grated carrot put a pound of grated bread. Beat up eight eggs, leaving out the whites; mix the eggs with half a pint of cream, and then stir in the bread and carrots, with half a pound of fresh butter melted.

In 1851 - A Housekeeper, The American Matron; or, Practical and Scientific Cookery (Boston & Cambridge: James Munroe & Co

Carrot Pudding - One half pound of grated carrot, one pound of bread crumbs. Beat six eggs well. and add one glass of wine, one half a nutmeg, and mix well together; a pint of cream; 2 two ounces of sugar, Bake it in a dish lined with puff paste.

(no timing given!)


Mrs Beeton's Recipe - 1861

BAKED OR BOILED CARROT PUDDING.

1259. INGREDIENTS.—½ lb. of bread crumbs, 4 oz. of suet, ¼ lb. of stoned raisins, ¾ lb. of carrot, ¼ lb. of currants, 3 oz. of sugar, 3 eggs, milk, ¼ nutmeg.

Mode - Boil the carrots until tender enough to mash to a pulp; add the remaining ingredients, and moisten with sufficient milk to make the pudding of the consistency of thick batter. If to be boiled, put the mixture into a buttered basin, tie it down with a cloth, and boil for 2-½ hours: if to be baked, put it into a pie-dish, and bake for nearly an hour; turn it out of the dish, strew sifted sugar over it, and serve.

Time - 2-½ hours to boil; 1 hour to bake. Average cost, 1s. 2d. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

Seasonable from September to March.

Carrots, says Liebig, contain the same kind of sugar as the juice of the sugar-cane.

(Liebig was the highest authority on all matters connected with the chemistry of food - Baron Justus Liebig, born Darmstadt 1803, was an “eminent chemist,” according to his 19 April 1873 obituary in the New York Times: “… by the aid of a travelling stipend allowed him by the Grand Duke he removed to Paris, where he remained from 1822 to 1824 … Baron Liebig was the author of numerous works, in which his researches are set forth with great minuteness … In his Familiar Letters he developed his views on chemistry, and its relations to commerce, physiology, and vegetation.”.)


Victorian Carrot Pudding

 In Victorian times, the upper classes would often eat very grand, fattening dishes. However, very few people were well-off, and the food eaten by the masses was often very simple, and cheap. Carrot pudding is a dish belonging to the latter food genre.

Ingredients

One large carrot, Approximately one tablespoon biscuit powder,  Three or four sweet biscuits, Four egg yolks, Two egg whites,  570ml cream, either raw or scalded, a few teaspoons ratafia (an alcoholic beverage, beware! - brandy will do!), a quarter of a nutmeg, 60g sugar.

Method  - Boil the large carrot until tender, and then mash it in a mortar. When the carrot is suitably mashed5, add the remaining ingredients, and stir the mixture together.

Bake all the ingredients in a shallow dish.

Times vary wildly for Victorian dishes, but 45 minutes at 180°C should do it.

Pakistani Carrot Pudding (gajraila) sometimes called halva

(read more about Halva history here)

Ingredients

4 cups milk

¼ cup basmati or Carolina long-grain rice

1 pound carrots, scrubbed and grated

½ cup sugar (or more, depending on sweetness of carrots)

¾ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ cup golden raisins

¼ cup shelled pistachios

Method - Combine milk and rice in a medium saucepan, and set aside 30 minutes to soak. Add grated carrots, sugar and cardamom. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ hours, scraping down the sides of pan and stirring occasionally to keep rice from sticking.

If a thick pudding is desired, mash some of mixture with a potato masher or immersion blender. Add raisins. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. Cook 30 minutes longer, stirring every so often. When pudding is done, transfer to 1-quart serving dish or individual ramekins. S

Sprinkle with pistachios. Serve warm or chilled. Yield: Serves 6. Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 293 calories, 7.9 grams fat (3.4 grams saturated), 6.3 milligrams cholesterol, 8.1 grams protein, 50.1 grams carbohydrates, 3.4 grams fibre, 119.2 milligrams sodium.

 


Torta de carrots -  Diego Granado's Libro del Arte de Cozina, 1599, translation by Robin Carroll-Mann Wash and scrape the carrots, and remove them from the water and cook them in good meat broth, and being cooked remove them and chop them small with the knife, adding to them mint and marjoram, and for each two pounds of chopped carrots a pound of Tronchon cheese and a pound and half of buttery Pinto cheese, and six ounces of fresh cheese, and one ounce of ground pepper, one ounce of cinnamon, two ounces of candied orange peel cut small, one pound of sugar, eight eggs, three ounces of cow's butter, and from this compostion make a torta with puff pastry above and below, and the tortillon with puff pastry all around, and make it cook in the oven, making the crust of sugar, cinnamon, and rosewater. In this manner you can make tortas of all sorts of roots, such as that of parsley, having taken the core out of them. Ref: http://www.katjaorlova.com/2005F7D.html
 

Candied Carrots

Candied carrots taste nice on their own, but can also be served as a side dish with many savoury meals. The idea of adding golden syrup to carrots, and then eating them as part of a main course may seem a little strange, but the Victorians did it.

Ingredients

 • 500g carrots  • Two tablespoons golden syrup • Salt (pinch) • Two tablespoons butter • Chopped mint or parsley

Method

1. Slice the carrots length-wise, and then boil them in salt water until nice and tender, and then drain.
2. In a separate pan, melt the syrup and butter together.
3. Add the carrots to the syrup and butter, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Sprinkle some chopped mint or parsley over the top, and serve. A tablespoon of cream may also be added, according to personal preference.

Modern Indian Carrot Pudding

 4 cups milk 2 tablespoons basmati rice 1 pound carrots -- peeled and minced 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup blanched almonds OR blanched pistachios -- chopped 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/4 cup heavy cream OR coconut milk 1 teaspoon rosewater silver and/or gold leaf slivers -- to garnish

In a heavy saucepan, place the milk over medium high heat, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle the rice into the boiling milk, stirring constantly for several minutes to keep the rice from settling on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the rice at a gentle boil until the milk is reduced by half and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the milk.

Stir the carrots into the milk-rice mixture and continue cooking until the carrots are tender and the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes; stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Stir the sugar, about two-thirds of the almonds or pistachios, and the cardamom into the pudding and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan bottom, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

Stir 1/4 cup of the cream or coconut milk and the rosewater into the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminium foil and chill for at least 3 hours.

Shortly before serving, remove from the refrigerator and check consistency; it should be a bit thinner than traditional rice pudding. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more cream or coconut milk. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining almonds or pistachios and the silver and/or gold leaf (if used).

Notes : “In India, puddings like this are adorned for special occasions with slivers of tissue-thin silver leaf or gold leaf. These inert metals are edible and may be purchased at art-supply stores and some fancy-food shops.”


Raw Carrot Pudding

The Suffrage Cook Book Compiler: L. O. Kleber, 1915

1 cup carrots, grated 1 cup potatoes, grated 1½ cups white sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup raisins 1 teaspoon soda Salt, cinnamon, lard and nutmeg to taste.

Steam three hours. Serve with whipped cream or sauce

Danvers (Illinois) Township Home Bureau Unit Cook Book, 1921

CARROT PUDDING 1 pound grated carrots 3/4 lb. chopped suet 1/2 lb. raisins 1/2 lb. currants Steam 4 hours, sauce. 4 tablespoons sugar 8 tablespoons flour Spices to suit the taste Place in oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Sauce

Sauce - 1 cup butter 2 cups powdered sugar 1/2 cup wine Beat butter to cream. Add sugar gradually. When light add wine which has been heated. Place in bowl of water and stir until smooth. — Mrs. Wm. C. Allen

 
Ambrose heath - "War Time Recipes" - 1941 - Heath was one of the contributors to the “Kitchen Front” talks broadcast by the BBC during the Second World War. The talks were organized by the Ministry of Food to encourage frugality and palliate the hardship of rationing with recipes, household hints, exhortations from government officials and comedy. The “Kitchen Front” was a platform for propaganda, but of a homely and avuncular cast.

 

Carrot Christmas Pudding  - 2011

(also know as Lincolnshire Pudding)

Ingredients (Serves 6 - 8): 100g plain flour 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp of mixed spice 100g suet 100g raisins 100g currants 100g potato, grated 100g carrots, grated 100g Demerara sugar 100g fine breadcrumbs 25g chopped glace cherries 1 large egg, beaten.

This is a really good and light Lincolnshire alternative to a traditional Christmas pudding, particularly if you're not one of those efficient cooks who has made their steamed puddings months in advance. And if you've forgotten all about the pudding, because you were so busy getting to grips with the turkey, this is absolutely ideal for saving the day!

Mix the flour, soda, spice well together. Add all the other ingredients except the egg, mix all ingredients well together and thoroughly. Then add the egg and bind well, if it is a little too stiff, add a little milk as well. Pour into a large greased pudding basin, leaving space at the top as the mixture will expand during cooking. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper and tie with string. Steam for 3 hours. Serves with loads of custard, brandy sauce or double cream.


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