Eliza Acton’s 1855 Recipe for ‘Saxe Gotha Pudding’

SAXE GOTHA PUDDING OR TOURTE

Blanch and pound to the smoothest possible paste a couple of ounces of Jordan almonds and four or five bitter ones ; add to them spoonful by spoonful quite at first four eggs which have been whisked very light ; throw in gradually two ounces of pounded sugar and then four ounces of the finest bread crumbs. Just melt but without heating two ounces of fresh butter and add it in very small portions to the other ingredients beating each well to them until it ceases to appear on the surface. Pour the paste thus prepared upon a pint of red currants ready mixed in a tart dish with four ounces of pounded sugar and bake them gently for about half an hour. Raspberries and currants mixed and Kentish or morella [sic] cherries will make most excellent varieties of this dish ; the Kentish cherries should be stoned for it the morellas left entire. Should the paste be considered too rich a part or the whole of the butter can be omitted or again it may on occasion be made without the almonds but the reader is recommended to try the receipt in the first instance without any variation from it. The crust will be found delicious if well made. Like all mixtures of the kind it must be kept light by constant beating as the various ingredients are added to the eggs which should themselves be whisked to a very light froth before they are used.

Jordan almonds 2 oz
bitter almonds 4 or 5
eggs 4
pounded sugar 2 oz
bread crumbs 4 oz
fresh butter 2 oz
Red currants or other fruit 1 pint
sugar 4 oz
1 hour

Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery, For Private Families, vol 2 (1855)

This recipe is something of a companion item to the previously-posted one for ‘Swiss Pudding‘ by “Lady Maria Clutterbuck”.1Have a look at that post to see why I’ve put the author’s name in quote-marks… Indeed, the earliest mention of ‘Saxe Gotha Pudding’ that I can find online occurs in What Shall We Have For Dinner? by the aforementioned “Lady Maria”, although it’s only mentioned in one of that volume’s bills of fare; no actual recipe is provided.

To find what appears to be the first published recipe for ‘Saxe Gotha Pudding’, we have to turn to volume two of Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families (1855). This was the “newly revised and much enlarged edition” of Modern Cookery in All its Branches, her previous collection of recipes, which had gone through no fewer than fourteen published editions between 1845 and 1854, none of which had included ‘Saxe Gotha Pudding’.

Was Eliza Acton inspired to seek out and include the recipe after reading What Shall We Have For Dinner? Maybe so; the publication dates do line up in the right order. And if this was the case, then it might not have been the only Dickens-inspired recipe to be included in this new edition, as I discussed in my long-read piece on the history of the Norfolk Biffin.

The recipe itself reads like a more detailed version of ‘Swiss Pudding’2Which perhaps explains why “Lady Maria” didn’t include a full recipe for this one in the third and last edition of What Shall We Have For Dinner, as she’d already included ‘Swiss Pudding’…, with step-by-step instructions for mixing the pudding batter (“paste”) and applying that to the fruit before baking. It sounds simple to make – as was Eliza Acton’s ‘Essex Pudding‘ on the couple of occasions that I’ve made that one – and rather delicious, and makes good use of redcurrants – a fruit I often struggle to recipes for beyond the obvious jellies and summer puddings – although you can also substitute raspberries, currants, or cherries for the redcurrants if you prefer.

How about you? Do you like the sound of ‘Saxe Gotha Pudding’? Is it one you’d consider adding to your summer repertoire? Do you have an explanation for the Germanic origin of the pudding’s name? Please do let me know, via the comments. Do let me know, via the comments.

Footnotes

  • 1
    Have a look at that post to see why I’ve put the author’s name in quote-marks…
  • 2
    Which perhaps explains why “Lady Maria” didn’t include a full recipe for this one in the third and last edition of What Shall We Have For Dinner, as she’d already included ‘Swiss Pudding’…

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