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WW2 Vegan Christmas Pudding (Old British War Era Recipe)

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This World War two era ( WW2 ) vegan Christmas pudding revives an old British recipe from the 1940s. This interesting vintage recipe provided many people with a delicious Christmas pudding during the rationing and food shortages that occurred in Britain during and after the Second World War.

Surprisingly, this Christmas pudding has grated/shredded carrot and potato but the finished result is an incredibly delicious, moist pudding that tastes like Christmas with hints of toffee!

Christmas pudding is traditionally prepared on Stir-Up Sunday, which always falls on the last Sunday before Advent (1st December). This recipe can be made in advance and easily frozen until Christmas day.

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Christmas pudding sitting on white plate with red merry Christmas sign and little holly ornament, red tartan background.

Origin of WW2 Christmas Pudding Recipe

This Christmas pudding recipe is included within British chef Marguerite Paton’s (1915-2015) book Nostalgic Food and Facts From 1940-1954 (2002 Edition).

During the war years and even afterwards, rationing of food limited the ingredients that could be utilised within everyday kitchens, and substitutions had to be found.

Marguerite Paton was a regular on British radio providing listeners with helpful tips and recipes designed to help people cope with rationing, food shortages, and using ingredients in new ,creative ways.

Paton’s Christmas Pudding subs in grated potato and carrot while omitting eggs and butter.

Although, you can not actually taste the potato and carrot and likely wouldn’t even know they were included if you hadn’t followed the recipe.

I have replaced the suet that was listed within the original recipe with ordinary vegan margarine and it works fine.

All the ingredients work together to give the pudding the flavours of a toffee x gingerbread cake x Christmas pudding experience. I even got a hint of Jamaican ginger cake.

I have to say that this Christmas pudding is now my favourite as it is not rich, heavy or stogey which some Christmas puddings can be. Also, my son does not usually like Christmas pudding but he did enjoy the flavours and textures of this one.

So, if you or a family member is not keen on Christmas puddings then I encourage you to give this easy recipe a go.

Slice of wartime Christmas pudding sitting on pink plate with cream, and tiny robin ornament, large pudding in distance.

Brief History of Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding evolved from the medieval British plum or figgy pudding which was a type of pottage. Dried fruits, spices, breadcrumbs, ground nuts was stewed with liquid to create a mushy pottage dish. A recipe for figgy pudding was found within one of the oldest cookery books dating back to the late 1300s.

It wasn’t until the Victorian times that Christmas pudding finally evolved into a dish that more resembled today’s Christmas pudding. The Victorians also started the British custom of Stir-up Sunday.

Nowadays, Christmas pudding is such an integral part of the British Christmas dinner that is doesn’t seem like Christmas at all if you don’t have a pudding. Even if you dislike it, its still traditional to have one in!

Traditionally in Britain, leftover Christmas pudding is fried and served with an English cooked breakfast such as sausages, eggs, bacon, etc.

cream being poured over Christmas pudding from a white jug.

Recipe Notes And FAQs

How do I store and reheat leftover Christmas pudding?

* Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 4 months.

* Enjoy a slice chilled or reheated. Individual slices can be reheated in a hot oven until warmed to your liking. Cover loosely with kitchen foil if you’d like to prevent the pudding browning too much. Or microwave for 60 seconds.

* Or place slices of pudding onto a panini machine/hotplate/pancake maker and toast until lightly browned and warm. A little vegan margarine spread over is particularly tasty. Alternatively place pieces of pudding into a skillet or fry pan and dry fry until warmed through. Add a small piece of vegan butter or margarine to the pan to melt while the pudding heats through, if liked.

Can I freeze Christmas Pudding?

Christmas pudding can be prepped in advance and then reheated on Christmas day. Doing so is a great time-saver.

After cooking, cool the pudding, and keep it in the pudding bowl. Wrap the entire thing tightly in kitchen foil. Place in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Defrost before reheating, and once pudding is at room temperature, place the bowl in a saucepan. Fill pan with hot water, half way up the sides of the pudding, and simmer for 30-60 minutes.

What can I serve with WW2 Vegan Christmas pudding?

* Vegan custard. There is an easy recipe over on my old school dinners jam and coconut sponge post.

* A scoop of vegan ice cream

* A drizzle of vegan cream

* A scoop of whipped vegan double cream

* Vegan toffee/chocolate sauce

* Tinned fruit cocktail for a really old-style vibe!

How To Prepare Wartime Christmas Pudding

Slice of wartime Christmas pudding sitting on pink plate with cream, and tiny robin ornament, large pudding in distance.

WW2 Vegan Christmas Pudding

Print Recipe
A delicious, moist, light, almost toffee-like flavoured Christmas pudding that was enjoyed In Britain during the Second World War.
This recipe is a fun, interesting way to enjoy a taste of history.
Can be prepared on the stove-top or for a quicker pudding in the microwave where it takes less than 15 minutes!
Course Dessert, pudding
Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings 6
Calories 442
Author Jacq


  • Large saucepan with lid, big enough for your pudding bowl to fit,
  • 2 pint (1 US quart) heatproof pudding bowl/basin, greased well with vegan margarine. If your pudding basin comes with a lid then you won't need to prepare a lid from paper, foil and string. ***Youtube video below recipe which details how to prepare lid***
  • parchment paper, for creating a lid for pudding bowl
  • kitchen foil, to cover the pudding bowl lid
  • string, for tying pudding lid to bowl
  • If microwaving, a microwave-proof pudding bowl and a piece of biodegradable cling-film/Seram wrap. I used a glass Pyrex pudding bowl.


  • 115 g plain flour
  • 50 g breadcrumbs any breadcrumbs can be used, such as wholemeal or white.
  • 145 g mixed dried fruit use a Christmas dried fruit mix that contains chopped fruit peel
  • 190 g sugar use any sugar such as granulated, caster, or soft-brown sugar.
  • 60 g vegan margarine (60 grams) plus extra to grease pudding bowl. (The original recipe uses suet)
  • 150 g potato grated
  • 110 g carrot grated
  • 3 tsp mixed spice the original recipe uses 1 tsp but I find that 3 is perfect.

Prepare before mixing all ingredients (mix the bicarbonate of soda and hot milk together) :


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  • Scoop into a greased pudding bowl. Press down and smooth the top.

To cook on stove-top:

  • Cover the bowl with your homemade lid.
    Or if you have a pudding basin with a lid then snap it on.
    (For extra protection from water, you can add a tight layer of kitchen foil around the lid. Just scrunch and press the foil around lid. However, this is optional)
  • Place the filled pudding into your pan.
    Pour boiling water into your pan.
    Add enough hot water so that it sits at half to three quarters up the pudding basin sides.
  • Bring the water to a steady simmer.
    Place the lid on the pan, you can leave a small gap for excess steam to escape
    Simmer for 4 hours.
  • Check your water level regularly to maintain the water at least half of the way up the pudding bowl.
    Top the water up when necessary with more boiling water.
  • After 4 hours turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly before removing the pudding basin.
  • Remove the lid and check the pudding for doneness.
    Watch out for escaping steam.
    If the pudding looks too wet or not completely cooked in the middle then steam again for 30 minutes and check again.
  • Tip the pudding upside down and place on a serving plate.
    If the pudding does not slide out easily, use a butter knife and loosen the sides and tip upside down. It should easily slide out.
  • To reheat, place the pudding back in the pudding bowl and steadily simmer for 30 minutes to reheat.

To microwave:

  • Cover the pudding basin tightly with cling-film/Seram wrap. Pierce the film several times to allow steam to escape.
  • Cook for 4 minutes. Then another 3 minutes. Check to see if your pudding has cooked, stick a skewer in to see if uncooked mix sticks to it.
    The middle part will take longer to cook.
    If not cooked, cook for 2 minute bursts and check each time.
  • I have a 700 Watt microwave and my pudding took 11-12 minutes to cook. Higher Watt microwaves will result in a faster cooking pudding.
  • Pudding is cooked when the sides begin to shrink away, the top is dark brown, and the middle of the pudding has set, and a skewer comes out clean.
  • The cling-film can be removed for the final few cooking minutes to help the middle cook.
  • Once cooked remove the pudding from the microwave and leave for 10 minutes before popping out of the bowl.
  • Run a knife around the edges and place a small plate under the bowl and carefully remove.
    If some of the top part of the pudding sticks to the bowl just scrape it out and press it back onto the pudding.
    If your pudding domes in the middle simply press the dome part down with a spoon so that the top levels out.


  • Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is analysed using computerized nutrition apps.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, and eaten chilled or reheated.
  • Reheat by placing in a hot oven, cover the pudding in kitchen foil, and reheat for 20 minutes or until warmed through. If reheating a whole pudding, place back in the pudding basin, add the lid, and simmer for 30-60 minutes.
  • Slices of pudding can also be toasted on a panini, pancake maker, or hot-plate. Or in a fry pan/skillet and dry-fried until warmed.
  • Serve Christmas pudding with vegan custard, cream or ice-cream.


Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 4296IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

How To Prepare A Pudding Basin Lid:

More Vegan Traditional Puddings To Discover:

British Traditional Eve’s Pudding

British Pineapple Custard Tart

Old School British Dinners Concrete Cake (have with some custard for a nostalgic treat)

Traditional Scottish Border Tart

Victoria Sponge Cake (so easy and quick!)

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