Antonia and I share a passion for puddings and so with this in mind, I have made Sussex Pond Pudding, I chose a Delia recipe I have yearned to make for a long, long time, but have never somehow got round to making.
Sussex Pond Pudding is usually made in a large glass bowl and steamed for about 3 hours. This is, to me, the best of all the suet puddings. A whole lemon is placed inside the suet lined bowl with equal quantities of butter and sugar placed around the lemon, this is then topped with a suet pastry lid.
Now for the pond, once you cut into the pudding the buttery, lemony juices pour out around the pudding creating a pond. A piece of the cooked lemon is served to everyone along with the pastry and juices.
Note - if you don't prick the lemon all over with a skewer before placing in the pastry lined bowl you risk the lemon and your pudding exploding - how do I know this you may ask, it happened to a friend of mine who had cooked this for us! Mary Norwak in her book of English Puddings, tells of a similar pudding where you leave the lemon whole and the pudding is called Lemon Bomb because of the exploding lemon!
There is also another version of this pudding that includes dried fruit to the mixture, and this is called Kentish Wells.
Recipes can be found in the following books, and obviously in many others - Jane Grigson in her book English Food, English Puddings by Mary Norwak and The Pudding Club.
Antonia has asked, as far as possible, to use British produce. For this challenge I used the following:
Self-raising flour Leckford Estate, Hampshire (purchased from Waitrose).
Wyke Farms, Somerset, farmhouse butter.
Now back to Delia's recipe - these one portion size puddings were really easy to prepare, I was a little worried that I would be short of pastry to line the pudding basins, but as usual, Delia had allowed just the right amount. The pudding basins are lined with a very thin suet pastry. The addition of fresh white breadcrumbs to the suet mix, gave a very light texture to the pastry. This pudding certainly wasn't a poor relation to the huge pudding that would normally be served. Sussex Pond pudding isn't a pretty pudding, but boy does it taste good!!
Here is a lovely nineteenth-century rhyme - all about boiled puddings, of course.
Mother Eve's Pudding
If you want a good pudding, to teach you I'm willing,
Take twopennyworth of eggs, when twelve for a shilling,
And of the same fruit that Eve had once chosen,
Well pared and well chopped at least half a dozen;
Six ounces of bread (let your maid eat the crust);
The crumbs must be grated as small as the dust;
Six ounces of currants from the stones you must sort,
Lest they break out your teeth and spoil all your sport;
Six ounces of sugar won't make it too sweet,
Some salt and some nutmeg will make it complete,
Three hours let it boil, without hurry or flutter,
And then serve it up - without sugar or butter.