Deacon Porter’s Hat Recipe

100thq_bandDeacon Porter's Hat

Not following its usual track, the Alumnae Quarterly published the following recipe for Deacon Porter’s Hat, a beloved Mount Holyoke treat, in the fall 1960 issue. (Should you wish to try this recipe at home, a modernized version can be viewed here.)

Deacon Porter’s Hat Recipe:

Be not alarmed, the Quarterly is not about to turn itself into a Helpful Journal for Homemakers. But since alumnae keep asking for the recipe Deacon Porter’s Hat, here it is.


1 cup ground suet
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup molasses
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup currants
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour, sifted
1 ½ cup of milk
¾ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine suet, molasses, raisins, and currants. Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add to suet mixture alternatively with milk, beating until smooth after each addition. Turn into a greased 2-quart mold, covered tightly, and steam 3 hours. Serve hot with hard sauce. Send to the table whole. Serves 10 to 12.

*From “The Yankee Cook Book,” by Imogene Wolcott, c. Coward-McCann, Inc., 1939

View more content from the Winter 2017 100th anniversary issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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3 responses to “Deacon Porter’s Hat Recipe”

  1. Ellie says:

    I think somebody might have to explain how to make the sauce, I’ve never heard of it, or eaten the dessert!

  2. Leslie Kumler says:

    Glad to have this recipe in my repertoire. Though I’ve never been a fan of traditional “puddings”, Deacon Porter’s Hat is a sentimental favorite. Admittedly, the best part about any pudding is really the hard sauce (a butter and sugar concoction that melts in the mouth), which makes any pudding edible when generously applied. I wanted to ask if the above “heard” sauce was the original spelling or if that was just an error in transcription. Thank you for sharing this recipe so we can all eat Deacon Porter’s Hat at home!

    Leslie Kumler, Class of 2000

    • Jennifer Grow says:

      Oops! You’re correct that “heard” was a transcription error. We’ve made the correction. Let us know how your own Deacon’s Porter Hat turns out!

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