Individual Sussex Pond Puddings with Lemon Butter Sauce

This is one of the truly great English puddings, which has, sadly, fallen victim to the health lobby. Originally, a whole lemon was placed inside, along with butter, and when the pudding was opened, all the buttery juices spilled out, creating a ‘pond’ all around it. I have converted it to small individual puddings and it’s still truly wonderful.

Serves 6

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three.

Individual Sussex Pond Puddings with Lemon Butter Sauce
For the suet pastry:
 4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
 2 oz (50 g) fresh white breadcrumbs
 grated zest 1 lemon
 3 oz (75 g) shredded suet
 2 fl oz (55 ml) milk
 a little butter for greasing
For the filling:
 1 lemon
 6 oz (175 g) butter
 6 oz (175 g) demerara sugar
 pouring cream, to serve
You will also need 6 mini pudding basins with a capacity of 6 fl oz (175 ml), very well buttered; some kitchen foil; and a steamer.


First of all, sift the flour into a bowl, then sprinkle in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and suet and just mix everything lightly with your hands to distribute it evenly. Next, mix 2 fl oz (55 ml) water and the milk together and sprinkle about 3 fl oz (75 ml) of this liquid into the flour. Begin mixing with a round-bladed knife, and then use your hands at the end to bring it all together to a smooth, elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. If the mixture seems a little dry, add more of the liquid.

Next, transfer the dough to a flat, lightly floured surface, give it a light kneading and then divide it into 6 equal portions, slicing off a small piece from each for a lid. After that, roll out the large pieces into rounds big enough to line each basin. Now transfer the pastry to the basins and arrange it to form the lining, using your hands to press it round as evenly as possible. If you have some pastry above the rim, just squeeze it down to form a neat edge.

After that, cut the lemon into thin slices and divide the slices equally between the basins. Next, put 1 oz (25 g) butter and 1 oz (25 g) sugar into each basin. Finally, roll out the extra pieces of pastry into rounds and use these as lids, dampening the edges with a little water and pressing to seal them firmly all round.

Now cover each basin with a double sheet of kitchen foil, pleated in the centre and twisted at the edges, and place in a steamer fitted over a saucepan filled with boiling water. Pop the lid on and steam for 2 hours, keeping the water at a steady simmer, and making sure it is topped up if it needs it.

When the puddings are ready, turn them out into warmed bowls, sliding a small palette knife around the edges to loosen them, and serve with some chilled pouring cream to mingle with the juices.

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