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What? The? What? Yep, I said it, we’re making a Sussex Pond Pudding. Well, I am anyway, you may be put off by it, we’ll see!
The Sussex Pond Pudding is made with a modern twist on a traditional British suet dough, wrapped around a sliced lemon, butter, and sugar, and steamed for 2 hours. Then it’s served warm with a Creme Anglaise. When the pudding is cut open out floods the “pond”, butter, and sugar with a lemon piece.
When I saw this roll out for Dessert Week on the GBBO I KNEW it was the ONE. Just like when I knew the Rainbow Bagels were going to be our challenge in the GBBO Bake-Along for Bread Week. Sometimes a challenge just speaks to me and this Technical Challenge “MAKE ME!”
And MAKE THEM I did. Basically all week, Pond Pudding. It was a veritable pud fest over here and no one wants to see another one any time soon. Or at least until I make my grandmother’s plum pudding for Christmas!
The Bakes for Dessert Week 2020
- Signature Bake: Mini Cheesecakes
- Technical Sussex Pond Pudding
- Showstopper: Gelatin Topped Cake with Mousse
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Ok, so let’s talk about steamed pudding. These are obviously NOT your custards most Americans call pudding. And the Brits love them. I’ve made them a few times now, and I never get over feeling weird about steaming a dessert.
Way back in the Bake-Along we had to make a family-sized steamed pudding and I made a Steamed Pumpkin Pudding. But that one is more like a very moist cake while the Sussex Pond Pudding is like a cakey shell with a soft gushy interior.
This recipe calls for Vegetable Suet. Now on the GBBO the recipe seemed to call for actual suet. I couldn’t find anything that looked like what they used on the show, pelleted suet. OR what Prue Called for in her recipe, Vegetarian Suet, which this is based on so I opted for Crisco. I’d have liked to find that vegetarian suet.
Crisco seemed to work ok, although I think it made the suet pastry very soft. But rewatching the episode they seem to indicate that suet pastry is just hard to work with and delicate. So maybe that’s just how it is? I won’t know until I get my hands on pelleted suet or vegetarian suet. That was a weird sentence to write.
Where to Buy Suet
This has been a conversation over in our Bake-Along Group (JOIN US!) and I thought I’d share what our members are saying about buying suet.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a local butcher ask them for it
- You can buy vegetarian suet on Amazon
- If you want REAL suet ask the butcher in your grocery store, he may have some, or he can order it
- You COULD use Lard as well, you want to make sure the lard has been rendered
- Crisco will work in a pinch
- You can order shelf-stable Suet as well
- Occasionally slaughterhouses will sell suet
About that Lemon…
The original Pond Pudding was first mentioned in a book in the 1600s. There was no lemon in it and the filling was a knob of butter. I don’t know or when the lemon became an item that normal people could get their hands on. And when would they have felt like could just stuff it in a pudding? Unclear, although from what I read it says “modern” Sussex Puddings include the lemon.
The recipe calls for an unwaxed “thin-skinned” lemon. I have lemons. Not thinned skin, not unwaxed. I did give them a quick rinse in boiling water to get off as much wax as possible, then scrubbed them with soap.
Doing a little research it looks like what they meant by thin-skinned might be a Lisbon Lemon, available once a year. If you can find Meyer Lemons those would work. But again I used a regular lemon.
The lemon in this pudding gives it a fresh flavor. From the zest in the suet pastry to the lemon chunk stuffed inside it’s important to the pudding because it cuts the heaviness of the dish. When it’s cooked properly it makes an almost marmalade type filling, and the taste is truly wonderful. I don’t think anyone eats the entire piece of lemon but they’re definitely benefitting from it.
Steamed Pudding Molds
Prue’s recipe calls for 285 ml pudding molds. We don’t have any pudding molds that size. And I didn’t find any suitable bowls that size either. The first attempt at the pond puddings was done in wide mouth 1/2 pint jars which are 236 mls. Quite a bit smaller than the 285 and the puddings BLEW UP.
They went over the top, blew off the foil, dripped all over the steamer, into the water. And were dry, as they should have been from oozing out all their fillings EXCEPT the lemon.
For my next go-round, I reduced the ENTIRE recipe by 1/4 and had better luck. So that’s what’s being shared here, a smaller BUT doable recipe. I also HALVED the Creme Anglaise because it just makes SO MUCH and no one needs over 1 1/2 cups for two puds. I mean yes it would be amazing but half of the recipe worked really well.
If you’re a purist, and you have the correct size mold, roughly 1.20 cups, then by all means use the recipe on the GBBO site.
- 10 7/8 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 37 grams OR 1 1/2 slices of white bread
- zest of one lemon
- 37.5 ML milk
- 37.5 ML water
- 56 grams OR 1/4 cup+1 teaspoon crisco
- 93 grams or 6 1/2 TBSP butter, room temp
- 93 grams or 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 lemon (meyer if you can find it), washed in hot water to remove wax
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon good vanilla
- 3 egg yolks
- 32 grams or 1/3 cup white sugar
- lightly grease the 1/2 pint jars and set aside
- set the steamer up over medium heat and get it started
- mix flour, baking powder, lemon zest
- use a blender to make the white bread into bread crumbs, or tear them up
- put bread crumbs in the flour mix
- add shortening, mash together
- combine the milk and water, and stir
- once the dough comes together, lightly dust the counter, with flour and gently knead the dough for about 2 minutes
- lightly grease your 1/2 pin wide mouth jars, set aside
- divide the dough in half, then take 1/3 of each half, and set aside for the lids of your puddings
- take one of the big pieces of dough and flatten it out, ease inside a prepared jar, making sure there's no air trapped under the dough, be sure to not bring the dough up and over the top of the jar just bring it to the top of the jar
- repeat with the second piece of dough and jar, set the jars aside
- work the butter and brown sugar together into a paste
- put a spoonful of the brown sugar in the bottom of each jar
- take the lemon and cut off the very tip of each end
- then cut it in thirds, save the middle piece for another project
- take each end and put them end side up on the cutting board, cut two slices almost all the way through each piece of lemon
- put the pointed end down in the jar so the wider cut end is up
- put the brown sugar mixture all over the lemons and around it if you can, be sure not to pierce the dough, fill it to about 1/2 inch below the top of the dough
- roll the two little pieces of reserved dough into lids for the jars
- wet the edges of one of the circles with water, lay it over the brown sugar, pinch the edges closed, be sure not to put the dough up and over the top of the jar, just pinch the edges, and pat down the dough
- cut two circles of parchment and foil
- lay the parchment over the foil, fold a pleat in the middle to give it the ability to expand, repeat with the second set
- crimp one of the circles around the jar, tie it tightly
- repeat with the remaining circle
- put the two jars in the steamer
- close the lid, make sure it has plenty of water, and steam for two hours, add water as needed so your steamer never runs out of water
- when you're about 1/2 an hour away from the puddings being down make your Creme Anglaise
- mix the milk, cream, and vanilla together in a saucepan, set it over medium-low heat
- then beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale then set aside
- when the milk is very hot but not boiling, remove it from the heat and pour the yolks in, whisking all the while
- return the pan to the heat, and whisk until the mixture is getting thick and coats the back of a spoon
- remove from the heat and pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps
- pour into a little pitcher for serving
- when the puddings have steamed for 2 full hours gently remove them from the steamer with tongs and set on a cooling rack for 5 minutes
- then remove the foil top by snipping the string
- ease a knife around the top inch of the pudding
- put a clean plate over the pudding jar then flip to turn out
- gently ease the jar off your pud
- repeat with the second pudding
- serve at once, pouring Creme Anglaise over the top
- let loose your pond by cutting into the pud
You will need:
- a steamer
- parchment paper
- two 1/ 2 wide mouth jars OR two 1 cup pudding molds
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Kerr Wide Mouth Half-Pint Glass Mason Jars with Lids and Bands, 8 oz, 12 Count (Pack of 2)
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Bamboo Steamer Basket 10 inch, 2 Tier Natural Bamboo Steamer for Dumplings Dim Sum Bao Bun Chinese Handmade Dumpling Steamer with Lid, Includes 2 x Silicone Mat
Amount Per Serving Calories 1030Total Fat 50gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 391mgSodium 854mgCarbohydrates 136gFiber 4gSugar 81gProtein 15g
This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.