Steamed Chocolate Nut Pudding with Hard Sauce Recipe

steamed chocolate nut pudding

Hundred-year-old cookbooks have oodles of steamed pudding recipes. These slow-cooking molded desserts were easy to make back in the days when people had a fire constantly burning in a wood stove. I have vague warm fuzzy memories of steamed puddings made by an elderly neighbor when I was a child, and I’ve wanted a pudding mold for some time–so I was thrilled to get one for Christmas.

A few day ago I flipped through my old cookbooks, and tried to decide which pudding recipe to make. I finally decided to try the recipe for Chocolate Nut Steamed Pudding because it sounded delicious – and didn’t require steaming for as long as many other puddings. (It only needed to be steamed for 1 1/2 hours.)

This recipe was worth the time and effort. The pudding was incredible.Β  I expected the pudding to be heavy and rich–and was thrilled that it actually was moist, yet light, with a hint of chocolate that enhanced the taste of the walnuts. The recipe called for beating 5 egg whites (and only 1/2 cup of flour) which resulted in a very light cake-like dessert.

I served it with Hard Sauce (which is actually a brandy butter). The Hard Sauce partially melted on the warm pudding surface releasing a luscious buttery brandy essence .

Here’s my updated version of the recipe for modern cooks:

Steamed Chocolate Nut Pudding

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print

Steamed Pudding

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, grated

1/2 cup milk

5 eggs, separated

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup walnuts, chopped

In a saucepan, combine the 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, salt, and grated chocolate. Gradually stir in the milk to make a smooth mixture; and put on a stove burner at medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens while constantly stirring. (This mixture become quite thick, so use care not to scorch.) Remove from heat and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl, and beat vigorously until stiff peaks form.

Working quickly (so the egg whites remain beaten), put the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl; and combine. Add the chocolate mixture, and beat until smooth. Stir in the walnuts, and then gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Put the mixture in a greased mold, and steam for 1 1/2 hours.* Remove from mold and serve warm with Hard Sauce. (This pudding is also excellent cold without the Hard Sauce.)

*Notes: I used a 2 liter mold, but had some extra space at the top. A 1 1/2 quart mold would be large enough. Historically coffee cans were often used as molds. BBC Good Food has an excellent video that succinctly describes how to steam a pudding (or follow the directions that come with the mold).

Hard Sauce

1/2 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons brandy

Cream the butter, then slowly add the powdered sugar while stirring constantly. While continuing to stir, add the water, and then the brandy.

Here are the original recipes:

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

There were two Hard Sauce recipes in the cookbook. I adapted the first one.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

51 thoughts on “Steamed Chocolate Nut Pudding with Hard Sauce Recipe

  1. I think this is one I’d pass on, just because I don’t have any sort of mold, and I’ve never steamed anything, and wouldn’t have the first idea about how to do it. I presume there are directions in one of my big, fat cookbooks — and probably online — but I’ve got enough cakes, pies, cookies and bars in my bag of tricks to carry me though!

    1. A mold isn’t strictly necessary. A glass bowl (pyrex for example) works just as well. In a previous life(style) I didn’t have access to an oven. Steamed puddings became my substitute for baked cakes. πŸ˜‰

  2. Being British, I sometimes love a steamed pudding and this sounds a good one. I’m glad you explained up-front that hard sauce is actually brandy butter. The name’s awful!

    1. It is an odd name. I’m not sure whether it’s called hard sauce because it’s solid and not really a sauce at all, or because it contains a bit of the “hard stuff” (brandy). πŸ™‚

  3. It looks and sounds delicious. Steamed pudding was something both my grandmother and mother always made and this tradition has been passed down to me. The children (and grand-children) are SO grateful that the best traditions never die. πŸ™‚

  4. My grandmother made Christmas Plum Pudding every year. She always put me in charge of mixing the hard sauce, which we made with granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. She shouldn’t have trusted me with that, because I stuck my fingers in it the whole time as I mixed, probably eating about a quarter of it on my own before dinner even started. (I was never hungry for dinner, although I could be trusted to eat some bread filling with gravy.)

  5. I do not think this is so difficult, but terribly time consuming and people today are of the INSTANT culture. Young and old participate in want it right now. I love chocolate and want to make it only to see how it differs from cake or pudding. Anyone know so I don’t have to make it to find out the answer?

    1. Hmm. . . your comment led me to google the word “pudding” to find its definition. Here it is: 1. a dessert with a creamy consistency “chocolate pudding” 2. a sweet or savory steamed dish made with flour “Yorkshire pudding”

  6. Sounds wonderful! I don’t think I’ve ever had steamed pudding. Now off to learn how to steam it… That will decide if I’ll attempt to doing it, I’m not good at standing over something this long unless I can leave it in the hands of a timer. I think it’s called ADD.

    1. You definitely could leave this in the hands of a timer. Once it’s in the pan steaming away, there’s really nothing to do other than wait for the time to pass.

  7. For some reason this reminds me of a recipe for cream puffs my Mom once sent me. I tried it twice and both times I ended up with hard lumps of nothing resembling a cream puff. I called mom to ask what I was doing wrong. Read me the recipe she said. I did. Now turn the page over she said. I did. It said add eight eggs. ….

    1. What a fun story! It sounds like something I’d do. Your comment brings back memories of homemade cream puffs. . . hmm, maybe I’ll have to try making some.

  8. I have made a few steamed puddings, figgy pudding, cranberry pudding and tried a Christmas plum pudding. It is very much like a very moist cake to me. I’ve read that the reason steamed puddings were so popular a long time ago was because it was difficult to regulate the heat on those old wooden cook stoves. Different types of wood would produce either a “moderate”, “quick” or “slow” oven. With the steaming, you bring the water to a boil and that creates and very even cooking temperature and was easier to maintain than using the oven.

    I discovered your website last week when I was researching recipes for cherry pudding. There is a recipe in our old family cookbook. I was curious about the history of it. When your site loaded and I saw the beautiful picture of the farm, it made me catch my breath. It is so beautiful! I dream of living on a farm that looks like that and long for a slower simpler life. I love talking to my grandmother and hearing about how they lived years ago. It was such a different life than how we live now. Clearly some things I wouldn’t want to do, like killing a chicken or butchering a hog, but the sense of family and closeness in community seems to be lost in modern day living. Your blog is so appealing. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Thanks for the information about regulating heat and wood stoves. You’re absolutely right that the boiling water can create a very even cooking temperature. It’s nice to hear that you’re enjoying this blog.

  9. I love puddings like this, but they don’t seem very pudding-y to me. In my mind pudding is Jello’s creamy version, because I grew up on their chocolate pudding and pies made from their pie filling recipes.

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