Mary Eliza Ketelby Rundell, on Making ‘Pippin Pudding’

"Coddle six pippins in vine-leaves covered with water, very gently, that the inside be done without breaking the skins. When soft, skin, and with a tea-spoon take the pulp from the core. Press it through a colander ; add two spoonfuls of orange-flower-water, three eggs beaten, a glass of raisin-wine, a pint of scalded cream, sugar and nutmeg to taste. Lay a thin puff paste at the bottom and sides of the dish : shred very thin lemon peel as fine as possible, and put it into the dish ; like wise lemon, orange, and citron, in small slices, but not so thin as to dissolve in the baking."

Mary Eliza Ketelby Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery (1808)

When we think of historical puddings, we tend to think of great balls of suet-infused stodge, bursting with currants and raisins and packed to the rafters with sugar and eggs. Not so this ‘pudding’ recipe, which calls instead for an almost delicate blend of coddled (gently boiled or simmered) apple pulp, orange-flower water, eggs, raisin wine and cream, plus the zing of extra citrus fruit slices. Poured into a pastry case and then baked, surely this would make it a custard tart by current terminology? Well, whatever name you give the dish, it sounds rather delicious to me.

For your ‘pippins’, I’d suggest something sweet / sharp that won’t break down too readily – a ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ would be easiest to get hold of, but a nice russet should do the job nicely – and, if you’re lacking vine leaves, I expect you could always bake the apples in the oven for 20-30 minutes instead. Citron might be a tricky fruit to get hold of, unless you have a really good greengrocer, but I expect you could substitute a lime instead. Raisin wine likewise, but I’m sure sherry would do the trick, unless you’d prefer to make your own. And if, like me, you’re unsure how to scald cream, there are instructions here.

As always, do let me know if you decide to make this pudding, either via the comments below, or by emailing me with your notes and photos. I’d love to see how you get on.

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