The term “pudding” can be used to refer to cake, but traditionally pudding means a concoction featuring seasonal fruit from the garden or orchard, sultanas, or treacle, often served with custard, cream, or creme fraiche.
Typical English puddings include: baked apple, jam sponge, apple crumble, eve pudding (made of apple, obviously), Bakewell tart (a specialty made in a town fifteen miles up the Derwent Valley from Crich), rainbow pudding, blackberry and apple crumble, bread pudding, ginger pudding, apple pie, blackberry cobbler, treacle tart, apple charlotte, Christmas pudding, custard, mince pies, Eton mess (strawberries, cream, and meringue–delicious!), figgy dowdy, sticky toffee, gypsy tart, pear crumble, jam roly poly, lemon meringue, lemon sponge, spotted dick, plums and custard, rhubarb pie, rice pudding, stewed fruit of any type, semolina pudding, and of course, the traditional English trifle.
My Granny Smith made a pudding every day for the mid-day dinner, much appreciated by my grandfather, my father (in her arms in the photo to the right) and his brothers and sister, most of whom had been up since 5:30 in the morning milking the cows by hand.
My granny’s specialty was rainbow pudding, not the one made in the US of vanilla pudding doctored with food coloring, but a multicolored sponge cake that she steamed for two hours on the Aga stove and served with custard. She was equally capable of putting out a tasty pie or a crumble using the strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, black currants, bilberries, gooseberries, blackberries, damson plums, and apples that she picked from her garden, the orchard, the hedgerows, and the moors.
Granny Smith’s Rainbow Pudding
(Please note: I will convert this to US measurements as soon as I’m able!)
4 oz butter or margarine–has to be soft and/or at room temperature, but don’t microwave or heat to a liquid–just use a mixer.
4 oz caster (granulated) sugar
4 oz self-raising flour
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
Beat together with an electric mixer. (Alternatively, if you use a spoon, beat the butter or marg together with the caster sugar, add the eggs, then the flour and baking powder).
Separate the mixture into three: keep one as it is, add red food coloring to the second, add cocoa powder to the third.
Pour the mixtures into a pyrex bowl one at a time so they are layered, and put in a fan oven at 170 degrees (180 without a fan), gas mark 4, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until it’s done.
If you want to try other puddings, here are two links, the first to a recipe for steamed treacle pudding, pictured above:
And the second which is a link to another site with many recipes. The photos below come from here: http://www.traditionalenglishpuddings.co.uk/#