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