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Historical recipe: Nesselrode pudding

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, we recreate Nesselrode pudding – a delicious Victorian alternative to traditional Christmas pudding.

Published: November 5, 2021 at 12:11 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Difficulty 3/10

If you fancy something a little different for Christmas lunch this year, why not try Nesselrode pudding, a Victorian ice-cream-style dessert packed full of chestnuts and fruit.

This pudding was created especially for 19th-century Russian diplomat Count Karl Von Nesselrode. I have seen several different recipes but food historian Annie Gray’s recipe looked like a great one to try.

On the podcast – Christmas feasts with Annie Gray

In our festive four-part series, Annie Gray takes Ellie Cawthorne on a culinary journey through the history of Christmas food. Listen to the full series now:


  • 30 Chestnuts (tinned)
  • 1pint Single cream
  • 2oz Sugar
  • 3tsp Vanilla extract (or a third of a chopped pod)
  • 6 Gelatin sheets, soaked in water
  • 2oz Dried cherries
  • 2oz Chopped mixed peel
  • Zest of half a lemon


  • STEP 1

    Take the chestnuts and either force them through a wire sieve or blitz in a food processor. Combine with half of the single cream and put to one side.

  • STEP 2

    Heat (but don’t boil) the remainder of the single cream with the peel of half a lemon and sugar.

  • STEP 3

    Add the vanilla pod or extract to the hot single cream, lower the heat and leave to infuse for 20 mins. Soak gelatine sheets in cold water.

  • STEP 4

    Add the infused cream to the chestnut mixture and leave to cool.

  • STEP 5

    Add the dried cherries and mixed peel to the thick (cooled) cream. Ensure the cream has thickened before you add the fruit so it doesn’t sink to the bottom.

  • STEP 6

    Grease a mould and add the cold mixture. Freeze or chill for five hours according to taste.

Discover more historical recipes, including:

Recipe courtesy of Annie Gray: anniegray.co.uk

This article was first published in the Christmas 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine

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