William Ellis’s 1750 Recipe for ‘Scald-berry Puddings’

"We stir them in Batter as we do Plumbs, and boil them in a Bag or Cloth. — These Ways of improving Scald-berries are in such common Practice with many of our Hertfordshire Housewives, that in some Families they are thus prepared during almost the [entire?] Scald-berry Season. For Sauce to such a Pudding, they strew a little Sugar over it when out of the oven, and then it becomes so palatable that the Children especially greedily eat it."

William Ellis, The Country Housewife’s Family Companion (1750)

This particular recipe caught my attention not so much for the end result as the main ingredient. I’d not heard of “Scald-berries” before, but a quick search online revealed that it’s a term – presumably either out-dated or of a local dialect – for blackberries or brambles, both the fruit and the plant, at least according to the Collins English Dictionary, via freedictionary.com.

This dish sounds like a berry-flavoured version of the Nottingham Pudding – apples baked in a flour and milk batter, Yorkshire pudding style – that I posted a while ago. Or ‘batter’ in this context could refer to a much thicker cake batter, as the author mentions using the same method for a version with plumbs, which could suggest a boiled plum-pudding? Lacking an actual recipe, I’m leaning towards the latter, but I think the first option could work equally well.

What do you think? Does either version sound like an appealing way to cook up a batch of blackberries to you? Do you feel inspired to give it a go? Please do let me know, via the comments.

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