Home Made, Home Grown, Home Crafted

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating

Posted by Jane Wells on Monday, October 2, 2017 Under: Baking

After watching a recent episode of The Great British Bake Off I started thinking about some of my favourite puddings and desserts and wondering what the difference is. 

For me, pudding should be hot and served with custard but it mustn’t be so filling that I regret eating it. 

A dessert on the other hand brings to mind an equally lovely treat – I’m thinking of profiteroles or cheesecake where cream plays a leading role. 

There are several words to describe the course so many of us look forward to at the end of a meal. 

In the Midlands the question ‘what’s for sweet’ was usually heard  half way through dinner (lunch if you’re from down South). ‘Afters’ was the word favoured in the North of England. 

The terms dessert and pudding were used by our friends in the South - or if we wanted to sound a bit posh. Traditionally we might describe pudding as something we cook at home and dessert as a course ordered in a restaurant but times are changing. The ‘Pudding Menu’ in pubs and restaurants nowadays lists favourites such as treacle tart, spotted dick, sticky toffee pudding and jam roly-poly.

Our modern use of the term pudding has evolved since the nineteenth century when sugar and flour became more widely available and puddings took on their modern form. For many centuries before, most puddings were savoury and served as a main course. They often consisted of a mixture of meat, vegetables and spices encased within animal skins or a cloth bag before being boiled to set the contents. Haggis is an example that we’re still familiar with and methods for making it can be traced back to the Romans. 

The Victorians were famously fond of puddings; a pudding on the table was considered to be a common denominator within society. The arrival of gas ovens in the 1890’s led to an increase in the variety of puddings that could be baked at home. Increasing mechanisation outside the home meant family favourites could be produced on a large scale. It’s unlikely the Victorians could have imagined how successful mass production would become. Last year supermarket demand for hot desserts such as tarts and sponge puddings rose by 10%, producing an increase in sales of £2.6m according to analysts at Kantar Worldpanel.

At this time of the year when there’s a nip in the air and the evenings are getting darker the thought of a proper pudding is very appealing. 

For a special treat why not follow this recipe and make your own custard – it’s really well worth the effort: 

4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
300 ml double cream
300 ml milk

Scrape the inside of the vanilla pod and put it into a saucepan with the cream and milk.

Slowly bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. 

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until well blended.

Pour the cream and milk into the egg mixture and stir thoroughly.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, place on a gentle heat and stir continuously until it begins to thicken then remove from the heat.

Don't let it boil or the custard will split.

The result of a little poll among BCM Producers put sticky toffee pudding at the top of their list of favourites so we’ll have this and other puddings such as fruit crumble, apple pie and bread and butter pudding on sale at the next Market on Saturday 7th October. 

Come along and try some of our puddings before deciding on your favourite!

In : Baking 

Tags: "fruit crumble" "apple pie" "bread and butter pudding" "sticky toffee pudding"