I have been swanning around and enjoying the good weather this week hence the lack of cooking and subsequent lack of blog posts. It is so unpredictable in Ireland that when the sun is out, I fully encourage its enjoyment in every form (despite the recent ozone thinning (you should avoid direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm and always wear a hat and sunblock, ok?)).
In an attempt to preserve the recent pleasant events and to re-live good feelings, therefore contributing to my current good state of mental health, I will write about this pudding.
I have been searching for this recipe for nigh on three months, vowing that when Will came to dinner I would master the art of Sussex Pond Pudding making. Now while I had planned to make this at least twice in preparation of the advance dinner party, of course I managed neither and while my poor husband was winding his way through the dreaded North by car on Friday, I was still on my first attempt.
Will came to dinner. And guess what?, the pudding worked really well - so no need for numerous practice goes, although I doubt I would have survived the second attempt if I had eaten the lot anyway!
It is basically a suet crust pastry enclosing a whole lemon which through slow and steady steaming, caramelises an abundant sugar and butter sludge to make the most delectable, sweet, sticky, lemony pudding that I have ever tasted. I would recommend only eating this once a year and definitely not following a slow cooked belly of prok. This pudding comes with a large health warning, but I can assure you that it is worth it.
This recipe is from a book called Good Tempered Food by one of my favourite food writers, Tamasin Day-Lewis. It worked a treat - I have adapted the quantities to suit a 1L pudding bowl.
You will need to serve 4
170g self-raising flour
95g suet ( I used Atora)
95g salted butter ( I used Glenilen hand-made butter) - chilled and cubed
115ml mix of equal milk and water
95g demerara sugar
1 large unwaxed organic lemon
- Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the suet. Add the milk/water mixture and combine to make a soft dough. When it comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and roll out into a circle. Remove a quarter of the circle with a knife.
- Line a liberally buttered 1L pudding basin with the 3/4 round of pastry sealing the joint where the pastry meets with a line of water and a slight overlap to ensure it is well glued together.
- Place half the butter and half the sugar into the base of the pudding.
- Prick the lemon with a skewer to help the juices escape and place it atop the butter and sugar
- Fill in around and on top of the lemon with the remainder of the butter and sugar.
- Use the remaining quarter of the suet pastry to make a lid sealed with a brush of water.
- Wrap in baking parchment leaving a pleat on top as you would a Christmas pudding.
- Wrap in tin foil and place in a saucepan of boiling water. Ensure that the water is up to the middle of the pudding basin, place the lid on and simmer slowly for approximatley 3 hours.
Tip the pudding out, using the tip of a knife, into a shallow bowl.
To serve, cut ceremoniously through the lemon to release the pond of delectable golden liquid. Make sure that everyone gets a bit of the lemon.
Savour and enjoy - you will be closer to heaven with every mouthful, literally.
You may have deducted by these wonderful photos that this is a camera-shy pudding and simply does not like the lime-light, in fact it prefers to be gorged late into the night when all other self-respecting foods have disappeared....it reminds me of the Sylvia Plath poem, by Candlelight ...
This is the fluid in which we meet each other,
This haloey radiance that seems to breathe
And lets our shadows wither
Only to blow
Them huge again, violent giants on the wall.
One match scratch makes you real.