England was certainly the enemy of old, but it remained oh so attractive. High society envied the gentleness of English manners, the good cut of English clothes, the speed and comfort of English cabriolets, and was fascinated by English gothic novels peopled by ghosts and ruined towers.

When it came to cooking, the level of fascination dropped a notch. Only “pudding” emerged and its recipe features frequently in cookery books of the period. The complexity of its preparation was not considered to be any more long-winded and difficult than most other recipes, and the ingredients needed, kidneys and candied peel, were commonly found in the “best” kitchens.

Period Recipe

Pudding Take half a pound of beef kidney fat (or suet) cut up finely, half a pound of fine flour, two eggs and a piece of butter. Mix all this with some sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange water. Place all this in a pie case made in the following way: take five pounds of flour and a pound of butter. Mix some tepid water into the flour. As you knead your dough, add the butter in small portions. When the dough is firm, cover it and let it rest; the firmer it is, the better your pie will be. Butter a dish, line it with the dough, then add the pudding and cook in the oven.  La cuisinière de la campagne et de la ville..., Paris, 1818  "Plumbuting"  [sic], or Plum PuddingTake two pounds of beef marrow, or if there is none, two pounds of beef kidney fat (suet), remove skin and sinews, chop really finely and put into a large bowl; de-pip a pound and a half of stored grapes, clean half a pound of currants and mix both with the marrow or suet mixture. Add three pounds of breadcrumbs passed through a sieve, a good glass of Malaga wine, two small glasses of Cognac, the zest of half a lemon, chopped finely, a handful of candied peel cut into cubes, a good handful of flour, enough salt, and eight eggs; cover everything with milk. Mix it together with your hands until it is well combined, and form into a slightly sticky dough. Bring some water to the boil in a pan large enough to hold the "plumbuting"; flour a tea-towel and lay it in the sieve (which will serve as a mould to shape the pudding); put in the bowl of dough and tie the corners of the towel together firmly to enfold it, without squashing the dough too much. Put this in the pan of boiling water and move this to the side of the stove where it should be left to slow-cook like a casserole. Note that it the level of boiling water should not be more than halfway up the pudding and that it must be kept on the boil. Keep some boiling water handy for topping up the level, but without any going into the pudding. Leave to cook for six or seven hours, turning it every hour. While it cooks, make the following sauce: put a quarteron (old measure) of butter, pinch of flour, pinch of lemon zest, chopped slice of candied peel, small pinch of salt and dessertspoon of caster sugar into a saucepan and cover with Malaga wine. Cook as a normal sauce. When ready to serve, drain the pudding for a few minutes, untie the towel and open it up, put a plate on top of the pudding, turn it upside down and remove the towel.  Cover with the sauce just made and serve immediately. Note that you can also bake your "plumbuting" in the oven, putting it in a buttered casserole dish.  de Beauvilliers, L'art du cuisinier, Paris, 1814

Bon appetit


Type of Recipe