Sussex Pond Pudding

Boiled puddings, like this one, were once known as “conceited” dishes, a reference to their ingenious and fanciful construction. Called “pond pudding” for the pool of sauce that leaks out when it’s cut, this old-fashioned dessert was invented in East Sussex in the 17th century.

Sussex Pond Pudding Sussex Pond Pudding
Called "pond pudding" for the pool of sauce that leaks out when it's cut, this old-fashioned dessert was invented in East Sussex in the 17th century.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 cup shredded fresh beef suet (see Skinny On Suet)
  • 12 cup milk
  • 12 tbsp. salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 12 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 small lemons

Instructions

  1. Sift flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add suet, milk, and 1⁄2 cup water, and stir with a wooden spoon until dough holds together. Shape about a third of the dough into a ball; shape remaining dough into a larger ball; wrap both in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Grease a 5-cup ovenproof bowl or pudding basin. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out larger ball into a 12″ round, then ease into bowl, pressing to fit snugly. Place half the butter and half the sugar in the lined bowl.
  3. Pierce unpeeled lemons all over with a skewer (incisions must go all the way through) and place on top of butter mixture. Top with remaining butter and sugar.
  4. On a floured work surface, roll out remaining dough into a 7″ round and place on top of filling. Dampen edges with water and pinch crust together with your fingers to seal. Cover loosely with a 9″ piece of aluminum foil (allowing room for pudding to expand) and tie in place with kitchen string.
  5. Place bowl in a large pot. Add enough water to come halfway up side of bowl. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 3 hours. Remove bowl from pot, cool slightly, then remove foil. Invert pudding onto a platter. To serve, spoon into bowls (lemon will be soft enough to cut through).