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Steamed Orange Pudding // 1940s

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

People don't seem to make puddings anymore; steamed or baked. Well, we can't see why - we've tried and tested a few traditional puddings from our books and have never been disappointed.
Recently having celebrated the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and 80th Anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuations (Operation Dynamo), we have been cooking up many genuine WW2 recipes from our copy of the Manual of Modern Cookery, 7th Edition which was published in October 1943.
This lovely orange pudding was one of them. It looks and tastes like sunshine. It's a perfect for summertime and would make a great centrepiece for any type of celebration - particularly those focusing on remembrance.
The good thing about steamed puddings is that they don't take too long to prepare but take quite a long time to steam (2 hours in our case). That gives time to cook and eat a dinner or other treats in the time it takes for the pudding to steam, and a sensible timeframe to finish some chores or get other tasks done while you wait.
Original Recipe: 'Steamed Orange Pudding' (Book 6, 1943)
Speed: 3-4 hours | Serves: About 4-6


For the pudding

  • 113g margarine

  • 113g castor sugar

  • 170g plain flour

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 orange

For the orange syrup

  • ½ pint of water

  • ½ tsp. arrowroot

  • 56g sugar

  • 1 orange



To make the pudding

1. Cream together the fat and the sugar and then add in the eggs a little at a time. Then, sift in the flour and the baking powder.

2. Zest and juice one of the oranges and then stir these into the pudding mixture well.

3. Pour the mixture into a greased pudding basin or mould and cover with grease-proof paper, folding the top a little to give the sponge room to rise. Secure tightly with twine around the rim of the basin and trim any excess paper.

4. Steam the pudding for 2-3 hours. About 15 minutes before the pudding will be ready, make the orange sauce.

Note: You can do this in a steamer, saucepan or oven; all will take about the same amount of time. We used a steamer, and ours was ready after about 2 hours.

To make the orange sauce

5. Zest and juice the remaining orange.

6. Set a small saucepan over a low heat. Add in the sugar, orange zest and arrowroot and stir together for a half a minute or so. Then, add in the juice and the water.

7. Stir until boiling and allow to boil for about 3 minutes.

8. Remove from the heat and pour into a sauce boat or jug.

To serve the pudding

9. Untie/snip the twine securing the paper to your pudding and remove both the twine and the paper. If necessary, level the top of your pudding using a long, sharp knife.

10. Turn the pudding out onto your serving dish. Pour the orange sauce around and on top of the pudding, leaving a little in the sauce boat/jug.


Original Recipe for 'Steamed Orange Pudding'

BOOK 6: Manual of Modern Cookery, 7th Edition (1943) Author: Jessie Lindsay & V.H. Mottram Publisher: University of London Press Ltd. (War-Time Address: St. Hugh's School, Bickley, Kent, England, U.K.)

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