Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Steamed Puddings

Steamed Gingerbread Pudding

This traditional steamed pudding recipe is from the 1800s. No chemical leaveners were used back then. I have spoken to elder folks around NL, and they stated that traditional puddings were more flavorful, rich and warming, it didn’t taste like today’s puddings. Presented here is the recipe as it would have appeared during that time. You can use a pudding basin or pudding bag.

Makes 4 servings


  • 5 oz hot milk
  • 2 tbsp cooking molasses
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1½ cups stale breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 6 oz suet
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 oz all-purpose flour
  • Butter (greasing bowl)


In a saucepan over medium to high heat, bring milk to a simmer (do not boil) and let it cool to 145° F. Stir in molasses and egg until molasses is dissolved. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet, mix well. In a large bowl, sift flour and ginger. Add milk pan contents to bowl and combine mixtures thoroughly.

Spoon batter (which is very thick) in a well-greased 1-quart pudding bowl with butter and steam for two hours. Once steaming is completed, lift pudding bowl from pan and remove foil and parchment paper. Cool for 10 minutes. Using a palette knife, loosen all around the pudding and remove pudding by gently shaking onto a serving plate. Serve with cream or custard.

Instructions on how to Steam a Pudding

1. Make a lid using foil and parchment paper to cover top of bowl;
2. Form a pleat (1 inch) in middle of both foil and parchment paper;
3. Place on top of bowl and form around;
4. Tie in place and create a handle before placing in steamer or lidded pan;
5. Use boiling water and ensure water level inside pan reaches half-way up bowl;
6. Check at 30-minute intervals to ensure it does not boil dry;
7. Water level should not fall below 1 quarter up the bowl; add
8. Add boiling water when necessary.