Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce

I’m stranded in the house by cold weather and snow, so I decided it was the perfect time to make a hundred-year-old recipe for Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce. Since I had nowhere to go, it didn’t faze me that the recipe called for steaming the pudding for 2 hours.

It was worth the time and effort. The moist, rich Steamed Graham Pudding was embedded with raisins, and had sweet and sassy molasses undertones. When served with Lemon Sauce, the tartness of the sauce balances nicely with the heartiness of the pudding.

Judging by the number of steamed pudding recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks, steamed puddings were very popular a century ago – yet it’s rare to see any steamed pudding recipes in modern cookbooks except for the occasional plum pudding recipe. Today steamed puddings are often considered difficult to make with a lengthy cooking time. However, back in the days of wood and coal stoves that had the fire going all day, they were an easy-to-make dessert that was often made using an old coffee can as a mold.

Here are the hundred-year-old recipes:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1917)

I decided to go with “good” and served the pudding with lemon sauce, rather than topping with whipped cream to make it the “best.” It’s a bit of an overstatement to say that the pudding is “almost as light as a souffle,” but it is simply delicious.

I used a steamed pudding mold to make the pudding. The molds can be found in many (usually upscale) cooking equipment stores. It’s unfortunate that Target, JC Penney, and other more mainstream stores no longer sell these molds; however, casserole bowls can also be used as a mold. BBC Good Food has an excellent video that succinctly describes how use a bowl to make a steamed pudding as well as general information about making steamed puddings.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Steamed Graham Pudding

2 1/2 cups graham flour

1 cup milk

1 cup molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried currants or raisins (I used raisins.)

Combine the graham flour, milk, molasses, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl, then stir in the currants or raisins. Put the mixture in a greased mold, and put the mold on a rack in a deep kettle; add enough water to come half way up the mold. Cover kettle. Bring to a gentle boil and steam for 2 hours. Remove from mold and serve warm with Lemon Sauce or whipped cream.

*Cook’s Note: I used a 2-liter mold. A 2-quart mold would also work.

Eggless Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 cup hot water

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Put the sugar and corn starch in a saucepan, and stir together. Add water and stir until smooth. Using medium heat bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer while stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Serve warm.

41 thoughts on “Steamed Graham Pudding with Lemon Sauce

  1. I didn’t have a clue what graham flour was. I’ve eaten graham crackers since my high chair days, I suppose, but the fact that they were made from a different kind of flour just didn’t click. This reminds me of the brown bread we used to get in a can, back in the 1950s or 1960s. I think we’d steam that, too, even though it already was cooked.

    1. Graham crackers were considered a health food in the early 1900’s, and likewise graham flour was popular back then. According to Wikipedia, “Graham flour is similar to whole wheat flour in that both are made from the whole grain; however graham flour is not sifted during milling (i.e. unbolted), and is ground more coarsely..”

      Similarly to you, I have vague memories of a brown bread that came in a can – and I think that this is similar, but I cant’ remember it well enough to be sure.

      1. Well, here you go. The same company that made the bread we ate when I was a kid still is in business, and it is marketed as a handy substitution for those without the time or inclination to steam the real thing. Here’s a link with photos and history. It’s widely available, and yes, I do intend to find some.

  2. I haven’t tried any of your recipes for a while, but I definitely want to try this one. However, could you post a picture of your steamed pudding mold, please? I’m not sure if I can get such a thing here and I’m not at all sure how it’s different from ordinary pudding molds. Graham flour also is not sold here, but the concept is known and I’m sure I can mix it.

      1. Interesting, thanks! I’ll see if I can get hold of something like that. If not I’ll use my regular pudding mold.

        It seems Graham flour is essentially the same as wholemeal flour, which I use regularly for my breads, only it’s made with a different process.

        1. I’m guessing that your regular pudding mold would work just fine. I think that graham flour is mainly just a coarser grind which give it a bit of a nuttier flavor.

    1. You should try making some steamed puddings. I think that you’d enjoy making it. I’ve had fun experimenting with some of the old steamed pudding recipes.

    1. I’m guessing that they purchased it, but I really don’t know. Graham flour (and graham crackers) were very popular in the early 1900’s. They were considered health foods back then.

    1. You’re fortunate to have the pudding molds. I know that steamed puddings have a long tradition in Britain. Do they have a similar tradition in Australia?

  3. Your steamed pudding sounds marvelous. I steam two puddings every year for Christmas. It became part of our tradition after we lived in England two years in the 80s. Your steamer is beautiful. I have two inexpensive plastic pudding basins from England that I’ve used for over 30 years. Years ago I used a pressure cooker for the steaming because I was always in a hurry. Now I use a crock pot. There is no danger of boiling the pot dry. Was it Boston Brown Bread in a can that you and shoreacres remembered?

    1. I never thought of using a crock pot to make steamed pudding, but it sounds like a great ideas. Thanks for the suggestion. I think you may be right that we’re remembering Boston Brown Bread.

    1. It’s good to know that steamed puddings can be made without any special equipment. I saw the directions for using a casserole bowls or dishes to make steamed puddings, but never tried it.

      1. Yes I use a bowl, cover it tightly with greaseproof and foil and then place it in a pot of water with a tight lid. Sometimes I put a facecloth under the bowl so it keeps the bowl secure in the pot.

  4. This looks delicious. I like the lemon sauce recipe. I’d not heard of steamed pudding.
    For some reason, Pudding such as this always reminds of Tiny Tim and in his family in the movie Scrooge.
    Another winning recipe.

  5. I’ve always been curious about steamed puddings. A friend made one once, and used an old coffee can, as you suggest, and it was delicious. I’m eager to give it a try.

  6. My mother made it with crushed Grahm crackers and used walnuts instead of raisins. She made a creamy lemon sauce and served whipped cream also.

  7. I made the lemon sauce to have with a Christmas pudding. The lemon really cuts through the richness of the pudding. A slosh of cream alongside is good too.
    My mother always made this as I grew up, making me partial to it as a ‘food memory.’ Nice to find the recipe again. Thanks.

    1. Your wonderful description of the sauce makes me want to make it again. It was tasty. It’s nice to hear that the lemon sauce recipe brought back some good food memories.

  8. I love how these old recipes have about 1/2 (or less) the sugar of modern ones. Reminds me of how I always use far less sugar than the recipe calls far! Thank you for presenting and keeping these old traditions alive šŸ™‚

    1. Many foods a hundred years ago seemed healthier. I have a lot of doing these posts, and it’s nice to hear that you enjoy this blog.

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