By Lyn Funnell
The oldest recipe for Sussex Pond Pudding, called ‘A Sussex Pudding,’ was in 1672, in Hannah Woolley’s ‘The Queen-like Closet.’ But obviously the recipe dated back a lot longer than that.
There was no mention of a lemon in the pudding in early recipes. Sometimes currants were included, but the butter was the most important ingredient.
Jane Grigson was the first known chef to write about including a whole lemon in her pudding, in her 1974 book English Food.
I love cooking with suet because it always turns out successfully. (My fingers are crossed now!)
Sussex Pond Pudding is very easy to prepare, but it needs three hours of steaming. It’s well worth the effort though! Just make sure that your saucepan doesn’t boil dry.
8ozs self-raising flour
Approx. ¼ pint milk & water
4ozs butter or margarine
4ozs Demerara sugar. I didn’t have any so I just used granulated sugar
1 large lemon
Mix the flour and suet together in a bowl, then add the milk & water until it can be made into a dough. Let it stand for about ½ an hour, then roll it out, flouring the surface first.
Cut a quarter out of the rolled out dough, to use for the lid.
Butter a pudding basin that holds approx. 2 ½ pints. Lay the dough in the basin, pressing the edges together.
Place half the butter & sugar in the bowl.
Cut the top & bottom sticking-out bits off the lemon so it will stand upright. Prick it all over with a fork & stand it in the bowl.
Add the rest of the butter & sugar. Roll the rest of the dough into a circle to fit over the top of the bowl. Firmly press the edges together.
Grease a piece of greaseproof paper, fold a pleat in the middle & cover the top of the bowl.
Cover the whole bowl with tinfoil, again with a pleat in the middle to leave room if the dough rises.
Stand it in a saucepan, add boiling water & simmer for 3 hours, checking sometimes to make sure there’s enough water in the saucepan.
Carefully lift the bowl out. Remove the tinfoil & greaseproof paper, & run a knife round inside the bowl to loosen the pudding.
Place a deep dish over the pudding & carefully turn the whole thing upside-down.
When cut, a ‘pond’ of liquid will run out.
The lemon will have become completely edible; skin & all. When you cut the pudding, do make sure that everyone gets a piece of the lemon.
Serve with custard or cream.