Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sussex Pond Pudding revealed!!

Before you begin making the pud get your big old steamer/double boiler out...I use a nice big double boiler that came with a spaghetti strainer, also find yourself a 3 cup (24 fl oz) basin or bowl that you can steam. The double boiler, or steamer, should take the depth of the bowl with a fitted lid not touching the top of the bowl!! Put the empty bowl into the top of the boiler and fill with cold water until it comes to about 3/4 way up the side of the bowl, take the empty bowl back out, put the lid on and start the heat 'til the water is doing a nice rolling boil. Then butter well the inside of your cute little bowl. Set aside. Then cut out a round of parchment big enough to fit the top of the bowl and down the sides about 3/4", butter this parchment...then also cut out a round of aluminium foil the same size....now you're ready....off we go!!
This dessert is not vegetarian!...but it can be if you use butter instead of suet in the dough.

For the dough:
1 ½ cups of white flour, about 7 ozs
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz shredded suet, just less than 1 cup (you can use butter here if you like but it doesn't work as well as the suet...the butter can make the dough greasier and heavier so try to get suet if you can)
3/8 cup/about 3 fl ozs iced water
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:
2 lemons, organic is preferable as you will be using the entire lemon
½ cup/4 oz light brown sugar
6 tablespoons/3 oz butter cut into small pieces

To make the dough: 1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
2. Rub the suet in by hand or pulse in a processor until the mix resembles coarse meal.
3. Add the water bit by bit and blend until you have a soft dough.
4. Refrigerate for at least ½ hour preferably one hour.
5.Now, take the well rested dough out of the figerdator and roll out two circles, one large enough to line your bowl and one large enough to cover the top of the bowl. Again I am using my trusty 3 cup bowl which I have buttered well prior to lining with my dough.
6. I tried this pudding twice, the first time I did it the traditional way which is to just put the lemons whole into the dough case, I added a few small calamondin oranges which I had growing on a small tree in my living room...you pop the lemons in and add the butter and sugar....this is for radical lemon lovers...the lemons were hard for even me to eat and I like very bright tart flavours, so the second time I sliced the lemons...I didn’t have any oranges left, and layered them with the butter and sugar. I much preferred the sliced lemons but also think the oranges added a bit of mellowness to the flavour so it’s up to you if you’d like to add some orange slices to the mix.
7. Now pop your little round dough top on the pud, wet the inside dough all around the edge then fold the inside dough over the top dough and squeeze together to form a seal over the top, you don’t want your pond leaking out do you.

8. Tie up your little pudding thus...... cover with the round of parchment, then with foil and then put a couple of elastic bands around the top edge of the bowl to make the parchment and foil somewhat airtight, THEN use string to tie like a package, this really helps you retrieve the bowl from the pot without burning the crap out of your fingers!!! Pop into your delightful, delovely steam bath....

...and boil for three hours non-stop, make sure to keep checking the water level so it doesn't dry out......take the pud out of the water bath, do not worry if your pud looks as unappetizing as the picture below...like a sticky, dense stodgy mess...that is normal as it is almost impossible to stop the top of the pud from getting somewhat soggy in the steaming process..... allow to cool for about 10 minutes then invert it onto a plate with a deep centre, don’t use a flat or shallow plate or you’ll have a nice sticky mess on your hands....

.....cut into the pud et voila out pours your pond!! I am thinking there may be another reason it is called a Sussex Pond Pudding and that’s because after you have done the water bath for three hours the contents of the pan look somewhat akin to a pond in high summer....inevitably some of the ingredients have leaked out into the water and end up as a bubbling mess....but we don’t really need to discuss this any further do we.
This is a fun pudding for a dinner party presentation where your guests don’t know what’s in the pud...it’s quite the treat seeing the juices flow but beware you better love bright lemony flavors!! The dough was intriguing albeit a little spongy and soggy in parts but nevertheless quite nice and unusual, certainly NOT a light pudding by any stretch of the imagination, but when your bones are chilled after a day out in the snow and wind it’ll certainly satisfy any craving you have for a stick-to-your-ribs dish!!

I am starting a previous recipes page - please take a look below the masthead above for other curious and wonderful British Puddings - thanks!!

Please consider joining me on my Facebook page for more British puddings - both intriguing and not, my artwork updates and pictures of beautiful Maine - thanks and happy steaming!

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