Carrot Pudding History & Recipes Through the Ages
In the 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'.
Published in 1591, there is an English recipe for "pudding in a Carret root". (A Book of Cookrye: Very Necessary for All Such as Delight Therin. Edward Allde, 1591). That recipe is essentially a stuffed carrot with meat, but it includes many elements common to the modern dessert: shortening, cream, eggs, raisins, sweetener (dates and sugar), spices (clove and mace), scraped carrot, and breadcrumbs (in place of flour).
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 Goose 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, carrets sliste, salt, whole Mace, sweet Butter, Vergious and grated bread, and so serve it forth upon sippets (=a small piece of bread or toast, used to dip into soup or sauce or as a garnish). - Source https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=eebo2;idno=A14584.0001.001
This recipe appeared in 1682 - 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. - A Perfect School of Instructions For the Officers of the Mouth by Giles Rose, 1682
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) by a lady cook ("good wife") and the English became known world wide as the great pudding eaters! A Learned Dissertation on Dumpling (1726) by Henry Carey:-
"The Invention of Eggs was merely accidental, two or three of which having casually roll’d from off a Shelf into a Pudding which a good Wife was making, she found herself under a Necessity either of throwing away her Pudding, or letting the Eggs remain, but concluding from the innocent Quality of the Eggs, that they would do no Hurt, if they did no Good. She wisely jumbl’d ’em all together, after having carefully pick’d out the Shells; the Consequence is easily imagined, the Pudding became a Pudding of Puddings; and the Use of Eggs from thence took its Date. The Woman was sent for to Court to make Puddings for King John, who then sway’d the Scepter; and gain’d such Favour, that she was the making of her whole Family." source
The cook's son, called John Brand, took over from his mother as the King's cook and became known as Jack Pudding and was knighted as "Knight of the Gridiron". They had Plain Pudding, Plumb Pudding, Marrow Pudding, Oatmeal Pudding, Carrot Pudding, Saucesage Pudding, Bread Pudding, Flower Pudding and Suet Pudding 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)
Carrot Puddings through the ages
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.
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
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.
A sermon book 1616-17 Dorothy Phillips (source Folger Library)
Carrot pudding. (above left)
Take some Carrots and boyl them soft and mash them through a sive, and mix it with Crumb'd - white bread and Cream and Eggs and some sack and sugar and the juice of a Lemon & sweet Beef - marrow or suet cut fine and either bake or boyl it
Another - To Make a Carrot Pudding (above right)
Grate 2 great Carrots or 3 little ones & 2 penny loves of Whitte bread halfe a l (pound?) of fine sugger beaten fine.
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)
Cookbook of Constance Hall, 1672, Folger Shakespeare Library, V.a.20.
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, London The 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.
“The family dictionary or household companion” written by William Salmon’s in1695.
He likens red carrots to beets, which at that time were carrot shaped until later selected out for roundness.
This recipe required the mix, once baked, to be placed in a puff pastry, sugar grated over to taste.
He treated red rooty beets and red carrots almost interchangeable in his pudding recipe. This book is both cookery book and a compendium of information for the homemaker. (extract right)
1693 Receipt book of Jane Staveley [manuscript].
Transcription - To make A carrot puding
Take a pint of cream, & a penny loaf grated, & as much grated carrot, A quarter of a pound of Butter melted thick, six egges & half the whites, a nutmeg grated, & 4 spoonfulls of sack, & 4 of Rose Water, beat your egges with your sack & mix these all well together, & sweeten it to your tast, & one spoonfull or too of fine floure, well dryed (it must be pritty thin) put it in a dish the sides being garnished with Puff past & the inside well Buttered, your oven must be as hot as for white bread, an houre bakes it, scrape a good deal of loaf suger on it before it tis baked & when you searve it up.
Source Folger Shakespeare Library, V.a.20
1699 Edward Kidder
A Carrot Pudding -
Take a pint of creame, the yolks of eight eggs and four whites, two manchets grated, nutmeg, four or five large carrots grated. Some rose water, beat all well together put in half a pound of melted butter and put in a dish (unreadable) ….. sweeten it as you please and put marrow on top of it and bake in a slow oven.
1699 - Anne Toller (source 35 receipts from the Larder Invaded)
The pudding is fairly easy to make once the idiosyncrasies of Mrs Toller’s language are overcome, she wrote it out the way she said it! There are two discrepancies in the course of testing: the egg whites are left out first, but must back in last (typical of other recipres of the period); and there is about twice the necessary amount of butter (maybe personal taste?). Less butter gives a better structure.
English Cookery and Medicine Book 1677-1711 Folger Shakespeare Library
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)
This recipe in UPenn Ms. Codex 631, volume 1 - 1730.This two-volume recipe book is dated 1730 (vol. 1) and 1744 (vol. 2) and belonged to Judeth Bedingfield, though it contains the handwriting of multiple persons.
To make a Carrot Pudding Mrs Bransby Kent[xxx] (1730)
Take six Carrots not to large boyl them well & as many pip[pins] with the juce of one lemon & four sugar rouls beat them very well in a Marble Mortor Mix with these a pint of cream & three Eggs Sweeten it to your tast Bake in a dish with pu[xxx] & put in Cittern & Candid Oringe. (Cittern probably means citrus, probably candied or preserved.)
(source and more information at Rare Cooking)
From the same Codex
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)
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.
The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary; Or, The Accomplish'd Housewife's Companion... (1723) by John Nott (right)
A Carrot Pudding - Colonial Virginia's Cooking Dynasty 1720
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.
Other recipes from this cook book are here (pdf)
The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary; Or, The Accomplish'd Housewife's Companion (1723) by John Nott was a very early reference to recipes with carrots as the main ingredient. (below) - 65 Carrot Pudding
1732 (approx) - E Smith, The compleat housewife; or, Accomplish'd gentlewoman's companion, being a collection of upwards of five hundred of the most approved receipts in Cookery, Pastry, Confectionary, Preserving, Pickles, Cakes, Creams, Jellies, Made Wines, Cordials.
Red carrots were included in this Carrot Pudding recipe of 1755 - "The family's best friend, or The whole art of cookery made plain and easy: together with a complete system of brewery" Arabella Fairfax, London. (Image below, source US National Library of Medicine, Digital Collections)
Smyth Family Recipe Book 1750 (Wellcome Foundation archives)
Professed Cookery, Ann Cook. 3rd ed London: 1760 - Teacher of the true art of cookery.
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
The Young Ladies School of Arts Containing, a Great Variety of Practical Receipts, ... by Mrs Hannah Robertson 1766
By far the most well known of the 18th century cookbook authors, Glasse’s “Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” 1788 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 ghost written, 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. Watch video of a modern re-creation here.
The Lady’s Assistant for Regulating and Supplying the Table By: Mrs. Charlotte Mason London, 1787
Mrs Frazer 1791 - The practice of cookery, pastry , pickling, preserving, containing figures of dinners, from five to nineteen dishes, and a full list of supper dishes; also a list of things in season.
A Carrot Pudding . Boil some good carrots ; and when they are well cleaned , weigh half a pound of them ; beat them very fine in a mortar ; mix two or three spoonfuls of sweet cream along with them ; beat eight eggs , keeping our half of the whites , with half a pound of sugar ; mix all well together , and season it with beat cinnamon , or orange grate , if you have it , as it makes it eat like an orange pudding ; mix six ounces of cast butter in it , just when you are about putting it into the oven .--- For Sauce, take an half mutchkin of cream , sweeten it with a little sugar , and add to it the squeeze of a lemon.(mutchkin=a Scottish unit of capacity equal to a quarter of the old Scottish pint, or roughly three quarters of an imperial pint (0.43 litres).
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.
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.
1807 - A new system of domestic cookery, formed upon principles of economy, and adapted to the use of private families by Rundell, Maria Eliza Ketelby, 1745-1828
Beat a large carrot tender; bruise it well, and mix with it a tablespoonful of biscuit beaten to powder, or four Naples biscuits, four yolks and two whites of eggs, a pint of scalded cream, some rose or orange flower water, a little ratafia, nutmeg, and sugar. If you have no scalded cream, raw will do, if very thick. Put a little rim of paste round the dish and bake it. Put orange, lemon or citron, cut in good sized bits.
The New Family Receipt Book 1817 – D Hughson LLD
Fine Carrot Pudding.
Grate half a pound of the sweetest and most delicate raw carrot, and double the quantity of white bread; mix eight beaten yolks and four whites of eggs, with half a pint of new milk; and melt half a pound of fresh butter, with half a pint of white wine, three spoonfuls of orange-flower water, a grated nutmeg, and sugar to palate. Stir the whole well together; and, if too thick, add more milk, till it be of a moderate consistency. Lay a puff paste all over the dish, and bake it an hour. Serve it up with sugar grated over. This fine pudding is easily made still more delicious by using Naples biscuit and cream instead of bread and new milk, and put ting in a glass of ratafia with the orange flower water.
On account of its beautiful colour, this pudding is often sent to table, turned out of the crust bottom up ward, having a little fine sugar grated over it. Some, too, boil the carrot, and scald the cream, but neither is necessary; and, by boiling, much of the saccharine quality is unavoidably lost.Carrot Pudding (from same recipe book, I assume less than fine!) Grate well-scraped raw carrots, with a circular grater; and, to half a pound of carrot, take a pound of grated bread, a nutmeg, a little cinnamon, half a pound of sugar, a very small quantity of salt, half a pint of mountain, eight eggs, a pound of melted or clarified butter, and as much cream as will mix the whole well together. Having sufficiently stirred and beaten it up, put it in a baking dish with puff paste at the bottom, and serve it up hot.
An 1824 recipe (left); 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. (note this is a direct copy of the Amelia Simmons recipe above - not uncommon for plagiarism of recipes throughout the ages!)(right)
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.)
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.
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!) and another very similar
The English Housekeeper 1851 Anne Cobbett - Carrot Pudding.
Mix ½ lb. grated raw carrot with ½ lb. grated bread, and stir these into a pint of thick cream and the yolks of 8 eggs well beaten, then stir in ½ lb. fresh butter, melted, 3 spoonsful of orange-flower water, ½ a wine-glassful of brandy, a nutmeg grated, and sugar to your taste; stir all well together, and if too thick, add a very little new milk, pour it into a dish lined with paste and bake it an hour.
1855 - Lincolnshire Carrot Pudding
Approximately equal quantities of raisins, currants, grated potato, grated carrots, brown sugar and breadcrumbs with sweet spices and egg, steamed.
A dish by this name is known to have been served at the Mayor of Lincoln's Banquet (Lincolnshire Chronicle - Friday 28 September 1855, p8) more information here.
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.