Carrot Pudding

Carrot cake is generally a crowd-pleaser. But carrot pudding? When we found this recipe in UPenn Ms. Codex 631, we were intrigued. We also wanted to try a pudding simply because we’ve found so many of them in early modern recipe books. Puddings may have been the eighteenth-century equivalent of the recent cupcake craze.

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. The carrot pudding recipe comes from the first volume, which includes not only other recipes for cooking – pickled pigeon, for instance, “quaking pudding,” quince cream, and many more – but also for making various kinds of wine and cordials and for household remedies for ailments like colic. It provides a wonderful example of the range of recipes that early modern recipe books can include. (In fact, stay tuned for when we make our way through some of its other recipes in Ms. Codex 631!)

carrot pudding

The Recipe

To make a Carrot Pudding    Mrs Bransby Kent[xxx]

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

The corner of the recipe is damaged, but comparing this to other contemporary carrot pudding recipes confirms the “pippins” in the ingredients. “Cittern” is not defined in the OED as anything other than a stringed instrument, so unless the writer was garnishing this pudding with a very surprising ingredient, “cittern” probably means citrus, probably candied or preserved. We could have tracked down candied peel for the “Candid Oringe” but concluded that zest would impart a similar taste. If you happen to have candied peel readily available to you, 1) we’re jealous, and 2) it would probably be great here.

In our modern kitchens, we’re used to pulling out granulated sugar rather than the sugar loaves or rolls that early modern cooks would have used. But Marissa happened to have some minimally-processed “panocha” cane sugar rolls in the pantry that we wanted to try here. We ended up grating a fraction of one roll – hard work for just a sprinkling of sugar! Rather than continuing the arm workout, we used primarily granulated cane sugar.


Our Recipe

{We were somewhat unsure of how much we would enjoy carrot pudding, so we halved the recipe. And even though we did enjoy it, this amount still works well, as it fills two-thirds of a standard pie dish. We also added cinnamon and ginger because we suspected that they’d work here, and they do; any spices you would add to a pumpkin pie would also work.}

3 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

2 apples, peeled and chopped roughly (*we used Macintosh apples but might try a tarter variety like Granny Smith next time)

1/4 – 1/3 c. sugar (start with 1/4 and add more if necessary)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

scant 1/2 pint heavy cream

2 eggs

zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350F; butter a pie dish or other ovenproof dish.

Boil carrots for ~8 mins. or until tender; add apples for last 2 mins.

In food processor or blender, puree carrots, apples, sugar, zests, cinnamon, and ginger. Then add cream, eggs, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

Pour carrot mixture into dish and bake 30-40 mins., until set. (It will be slightly more wobbly than baked pumpkin pie filling.)

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

The Result

Very orange. And surprisingly pleasant: the apples, citrus, and spices balanced the vegetal base of the carrot. The consistency was somewhere between a pumpkin pie filling and a flan: firm enough to hold its shape when sliced, but jiggly enough that a few dollops ended up on the floor between pie dish and plate. (Oops.) We might bake it in a pie crust next time, or add another apple to the mixture, or perhaps roast the carrots and apples before pureeing them for additional depth of flavor. Adding some pureed carrots to a pumpkin pie base might also work well.

We assume that there will inevitably be a few recipes in this project that we make out of curiosity, gulp down a taste or two, agree that it’s “interesting” (with air quotes), and then continue on with our culinary lives, never to make it again. But carrot pudding does not make that list.

29 thoughts on “Carrot Pudding

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Alyssa Connell at Cooking in the Archives created a modern version of a mid-18th recipe for Carrot Pudding from the UPenn Ms. Codex 631. As a someone who loves both pumpkin and sweet potato pie and puddings in general, carrot pudding sounds quite appealing. Connell described the result as “surprising pleasant” and admitted that they would be willing to make it in the future. Enjoy!

    • Thanks for reblogging! Like pumpkin pie, this pudding is also delicious leftover, straight out of the fridge.

    • The pudding is not only ORANGE but fairly straightforward to put together, which would make it a great project for you and her to cook together. Have fun! And yes, please let us know how it turns out.

      • Yes, it looks perfect for little kids. It also contains ingredients that are easy to get. By the way, I was wondering whether you’re able to give us any information on who Judeth Bedingfield and Mrs. Bransby Kent were. Thanks!

  2. I wish that we could! We haven’t been able to find out any information about either of them so far, but we’re keeping an eye out and will update the post if we uncover anything.

    • Jane, that’s what we thought too; the mix of candied peel would probably be delicious on this pudding. If only it were readily available here in Philadelphia! (Same for citrons – this DL recipe looks great.)

      • The information on the citron is very interesting! I’m also in Philly, and I’ve never seen them around here. I’m going to keep an eye out for them now.

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  4. Citron is its own fruit coming in two varieties, one is known as Buddha’s Hand. It is candied and used in baking. If making something similar from lemons, use a very pithy lemon.

  5. Candying lemon or orange peel, or citron, is very easy. Simply boil the sliced peel or the citron (otherwise called “Buddha’s hand) in salted water for a few minutes, then rinse and boil in simple syrup until the peel or citron is tranlucent, remove to parchment paper, and let cool. The salt removes the bitterness from the peel. The sugar acts as a preservative.
    For a special Christmas treat, dip the candied peel in dark or milk chocolate.

  6. You do know that “pudding” is the British term for a dessert or sweet treat. It does not mean “pudding” in the same sense that we use it, as a “custard”. This is in the same way they use the term “biscuit” for our term “cookie”. So, I would conjecture that all the “puddings” in your cookbook are in fact, desserts.

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  8. I often hear “citron” used as a term for candied lemon peel and, as others have noted, would assume that’s what was meant by “cittern” in this recipe. Especially due to it’s proximity to candied orange peel.

    As for not being able to get mixed peel in Philly… Here’s a recipe for candied orange peel from “Delightes for Ladies” dated 1603:
    To candy Orenge pilles
    Take your Orenge pilles after they bee preserved, then take fine sugar and Rosewater, & boile it to the height of Manus Christi, then draw it through your sugar, then lay them on the bottome of a sieve, and drie them in an oven after you have drawne bread, and they will be candied.

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  11. Just found your blog, and think it’s fascinating!

    I believe the lost word on your receipt is “paste.” Bake in a deep dish “with paste.” Paste, from my experience, is another word for crust.

    I’d suggest trying this again, this time with a crust (puff paste is my favorite for carrot puddings).

    Can’t wait to see what receipt you do next!

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