Sussex Pond Pudding

Sunday 28 February 2010

I really spoiled my Todd today. He is from the generation that was raised on hearty, stodgy school dinners . . . plates filled with cooked to the death cabbage and vegetables and meat . . . not all that appealing to most people, but there are still a few brave souls about who loved them.

I never had the priviledge of experiencing them myself, but I really think I would have been one of the lovers.

The best part of school dinners was the pudding . . . spotted Dick, jam roly poly, treacle sponge . . . all delicious and hearty and very filling.

I have wanted to make Sussex Pond Pudding for a long time. As you know I love lemon anything and, from the very first time I read about it, I had the inclination to make one.

Sussex Pond Pudding is a traditional English suet pudding, believed to have originated in the county of Sussex. A rich suet pastry encases a delicious filling of brown sugar and butter, with a whole lemon situated in the centre. As the pudding steams, the lemon softens and flavours the butter and brown sugar, the whole mixture amalgamating to form a deliciously rich sauce, which oozes out onto the plate when the pudding is cut open to serve.

After cooking for so long, the skin of the lemon almost candies like a marmelade in its own juices and that of the butter and sugar. It is said that only the very "hardiest" of souls are brave enough to eat the 'frog' as it is called, the suet crust and the sauce being the best parts.

But do scrape out the inside flesh of the lemon to mingle with that buttery rich deliciousness . . . Yes, it is seriously indulgent . . . but a wonderful once in a blue moon treat. Why not go whole hog and serve it up with lashings of cream???

Why not indeed! It should come with a health warning, of course, but what a way to go!

*Sussex Pond Pudding*
serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

A deliciously rich pudding with a wonderful butter lemon flavour. This is fabulous!

120g self raising flour, sifted
100g fresh soft white breadcrumbs
the finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon, plus 1 whole lemon
120g shredded suet
pinch of salt
about 90ml of milk, more less as needed
100g cold butter, diced
100g light muscovado sugar (or soft light brown if that's all you have)

Whisk the flour, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, suet and salt together in a large bowl. Add just enough milk to bring the dough together. Roll the dough out to a circle large enough to fit into a 1 litre pudding basin. Cut a wedge out of it, using about 1/4 of the circle. Take the remaining piece of the circle and place it into the pudding basin, pressing it to fit and pressing the cut edges together so there are no holes. Trim the top leaving just a bit of overhang. Take the lemon and roll it on your work top to release the juices, then prick it all over with a toothpick or skewer. Remove any stem if present and discard. Place half of the sugar and butter into the bottom of the pastry lined basin. Top with the pricked lemon. Place the remaining butter and sugar around the sides. Shape the wedge which you have removed from the pastry, along with any trimmings into a ball, and then roll it out into a ccircle large enough to cover the top of the bowl. Place this lid on top of the lemon/sugar mixture. Brush the edges with milk and then fold them over top of the lid, sealing it completely.

Cut a large circle of baking paper. Fold a pleat in the centre to allow for expansion and then fit it over the top of the pudding basin, tying it in place with some string. Place the pudding basin in a large pan with boiling water that comes halfway up the sides. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 1/2 hours, checking from time to time and replenishing water as needed.

When the 2 1/2 hours are up, carefully remove the pudding basin from the pot. Remove the baking paper and string. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding. Place a deep plate on top and invert it. Serve warm and in wedges with the buttery sauce that spills out and if you are feeling really indulgent, lashings of cream!


  1. Oh wow, this looks great! I've never had anything like this before. Looks yummy!

  2. Oh, my! That looks delicious, Marie! I've never even heard of this! I love when you write about very traditional British recipes--I love learning new ones & their history. You're so good at that!

    Love you tons and hoping you're doing well thoughts are with you. Even my girls are sad about what you're going through--"Not Marie!" they said...they love you, too!

    Big hugs from all the Campbells to Marie and Todd tonight--stay cozy and happy!

  3. Oh my.....that sounds over the top YUMMY!

    Warm blessings,

  4. i love visiting your blog. i always learn something new. i enjoy the stories and explanations you give before the recipe. that looks yummy by the way.

  5. Looks amazing! I've always wanted to try making this pud after seeing James Martin make it once but I have to admit I was put off by what to do with the lemon afterwards!!! Silly I know. But you've cleared that up for me now ;0)

  6. That pudding looks amazing Marie!

  7. wow...this is something i will have to make. i LOVE your blog. i just made a very wonderful lemon loaf you might want to try. click on it on my sidebar for the recipe if you want to try it!

  8. Amazing! Marie..although I LOVE your paper and twine..can a steamed pudding tin work as well?

    Oh I have to try this treat of yours..Just beautiful..My husband will be 69.. he was raised w/ puddings too:)

  9. Increible y atractivo puding. Tiene que estar buenisimo.

  10. oh honestly, I just can't take it ! HOW I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THIS WITH MY COFFEE THIS MORNING !

  11. I'm sure that would give it a surprise flavor! It makes my mouth water this Sunday morning! ♥

  12. This looks so delicious what a treat to find a lemon inside.

  13. Now this is a real English kitchen recipe. I used to love school dinners, even th watery cabbage and to this day I actually could eat overcooked brussells sprouts by the cart load. But puddings - oh me oh my - and custard................ it has to be custard. Sorry, cream just doesn't do it for me on such a uniquely English phenomenon!

    Thanks for the trip on the memory train!

    love, Angie, xx

  14. Oh, Marie! This looks like a KILLER! I definitely want to try this! Now to find suet ....
    xoxo Pattie

  15. I must say Marie you come out with recipes that are out of this world; your photos are spectacular! and it does sound and look realy good!

  16. Every once in a while you have to throw caution to the wind and just enjoy! And this is a perfect time!

    Gorgeous photos!

  17. Wow Marie! Sounds awesome! I've never heard of it, but the butter and brown sugar had me :)

  18. Love the name AND the look of this delight! So inviting!

  19. My mouth is WATERING!! This looks incredible. I love anything lemon!!

  20. The pudding looks amazing! I've printed off the recipe and I will give it ago after Christmas, thank you.

  21. Sounds wonderful. What is suet?

  22. Suet is raw beef or sheep fat, usually taken from around the kidneys or the loins of the animal. You can also get a vegetarian version, which is made from solid vegetable fat. You can use butter in stead. Just freeze it and then grate it into the flour.

  23. Could we add some sunflower seeds and honey to make a 'breakfast' version?

    Definitely good for the spirits.

  24. I spose you could Admin, but it wouldn't technically be a Sussex Pond Pudding then! xx


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