Friday, 17 April 2015

History Bakers: Prince Albert's Pudding

This History Bakers treat comes from a recipe book found in the Hotham Estate collection here at the History Centre [U DDHO/19/8]. The book is dated 1860 but some of the recipes, like this one, have earlier origins: 

Prince Albert’s Pudding
½ lb of butter beat to a cream
½ lb of sugar sifted fine.
5 eggs    ½ lb of flour.
Cinnamon & mace pounded
½ lb Raisins stoned & chopped fine
The mould to be well buttered & stewed with candid orange & lemon peel
Boil the Pudding 3 hours & a half & serve it up with punch or wine sauce 

The recipe is thought originally to be by Eliza Acton and first appeared in ‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ compiled 1845. It’s not to be confused with another Prince Albert inspired recipe for Plum Pudding, which also appeared in Eliza Acton’s recipe book, but under the heading of ‘Christmas Pudding’.

As you can see, there isn’t much by way of method so I improvised using the ‘measure it out and chuck it all in a mixing bowl’ approach. There was no measurement for the cinnamon and mace so I ‘guestimated’ half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of mace. Not being able to find mace whilst buying the ingredients I had to substitute it for ground mixed which I already had in my cupboard.  


Once the ingredients were mixed, I buttered the pudding basins (I divided the mixture in two as I only had small basins) and layered the bottom with candied peel. Next I added the mixture and then came the actual cooking process. 

And it is here that it might have gone a bit wrong. After three and a half hours of steaming the puddings on an electric hob they still hadn’t cooked through. I decided to finish them in the microwave (not historically accurate I know but it was late and I wanted to sleep) and unfortunately might have overcooked them as they came out quite dry... 

Here’s what people thought…
‘Looks pretty, orangey flavour, slightly dry’
‘Lovely flavour but maybe slightly dry’
‘Fruity and lovely with a dash of cream’
‘Very fruity, a bit like a fruit cake but drier’
‘Lovely fruity taste’
‘Right fruity but a bit dry’

So we can recommend that the flavours of the recipe are good but you might want to improve on my poor cooking technique. If you have a go please let us know what you think and whether it turned out all right for you!

Claire Weatherall, 
Project Archivist

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if you put the basins in a steamer? I should think the original method would be to stand them in a pan of boiling water so that the tops were above the water and then cover the pan. Covering the basins with greaseproof paper with a pleat in to allow for rising might improve the transfer of heat. This was the method my mother used when boiling/steaming her Christmas puddings. It looks an appetising recipe, I shall have to try it. Using candied peel 'caps' and slicing them into very fine shreds might be truer to the original recipe. In the transcription I think 'stewed'with the candied peel should read 'strewed'.


Comments and feedback welcomed....