Bright in citrus flavours, this traditional English pudding is a rich, decadent treat that is making a big comeback for sweet-toothed Brits. The pudding is believed to come from Sussex, the South East county in England, where it consisted of a whole lemon packed in a suet with butter and sugar, slow cooked for hours to create a dense caramelized sauce that forms a “pond” upon slicing.
Preparing the pudding
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, lemon zest, suet and salt. Gradually add milk and water to make dough. Roll onto a flat, floured surface and set a side ¼ of the dough (this will be used later for the top of the pudding. Place the remaining dough into the pudding heatproof basin or bowl, pressing firmly so it fits, making sure there are no holes, and trim whatever access dough is hanging off.
Grab the lemon and briskly rub it in your hands so that the juices will easily be released, and then with a sharp tip, prick the lemon all over. Put half of the butter and sugar into the bottom of the basin, rub some on the lemon, and add the other half to the sides.
Roll out the rest of the dough and use it as a lid, making sure to tightly seal with edges. Add foil to the top, making sure to fold a pleat – use string to tie it so it doesn’t shift. Using a large pan, fill it with boiling water a few inches and bathe the pudding basin in the water, cooking on low heat for at least 3 hours. Check occasionally since if the water level falls low, you’ll need to add more water.
After the time is up, you’ll have to be very careful serving since the pudding is sensitive collapsing. Remove the foil and strings, and using a deep dish placed over the basin, flip the pudding onto the serving dish to invert it. Serve warm.
Things you need
- 220g/8oz self-raising flour, sifted
- 110g/4oz shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
- 75ml/3fl oz water
- 75ml/3fl oz milk
- 150g/5oz light brown sugar
- 150g/5oz salted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra to grease
- Zest from one whole unwaxed lemon
- 1 lemon, whole