The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Cambridge Pudding

A Cambridge Pudding.
(for photos please see my original post here. I seemed to have removed my images from my computer.)

(John Murrell: A new booke of Cookerie; London Cookerie. London 1615)

Searce grated Bread through a Cullinder, mince it with Flower, minst Dates, Currins, Nutmeg, Sinamon, and Pepper, minst Suit, new Milke warme, fine Sugar, and Egges: take away some of their whites, worke all together. Take halfe the Pudding on
the one side, and the other on the other side, and make it round like a loafe.
Then take Butter, and put it in the middest of the Pudding, and the other halfe aloft. Let your liquour boyle, and throw your Pudding in, being tyed in a faire cloth: when it is boyled enough cut it in the middest, and so serue it in.


My initial review of this recipe sounded like a boiled pudding. I have never had or seen one but I had heard of them so I did some online perusal. And found this:
While not identical it gave me some good ratios to start with. I opted to leave the suet out as I had some difficulty finding it and what I did find was in larger quantities then I needed. I wanted to try the recipe first and see how it tasted before investing in ingredients that might go to waste. I also found another pudding recipe from the same Murrell reference that gave the option “If it be a fasting day leaue out the Suit…”

1 ½ cups butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs
½ cup warm milk
4 cups (280g) stale breadcrumbs (not dry)
1 cup (150g) wheat/white flour mix
1 cup (150g) currants
1 cup (170g) pitted dried dates, chopped
4 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pepper

Combine dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients until the dough holds its shape. Form into a round loaf. Tie up into cheese cloth. (I prepped the cloth by soaking it first and then sprinkling the center with flour to form a barrier to hold the moist pudding in and help form the skin needed for the pudding to hold its shape).

I slowly immersed the pouch into boiling water and tied the ends to the handles of the pot and put a lid over. This then boiled for six hours. I had to replenish the water periodically. After 6 hours I removed the pudding and unwrapped it and allowed it to cool. The pudding became more firm and darker in color as it cooled.

The flavor was good and I seemed to have found a good balance with the spices. I don’t think that anything is missing by not adding the Suet and since Coronation takes place during Lent in our modern year I decided to leave it out. It had a good flavor but needed a sauce. I couldn’t find anything else with in the same text but I decided I will serve with an almond cream which uses almonds, cream, mace, sugar and flour. The pudding tasted really great with ice cream which wasn't a period option so I thought the almond cream might be a good choice.

For the actual entry, I reduced the quantity of currants and dates because I personally can't seem to find dates palatable no matter how many different ways I cook them. And, the more I think about it I wish I would have soaked them a bit ahead of time. I wasn't sure how the extra liquid would have impacted the finished product so I opted not to but some of the fruit didn't really soften during it's six hour bath.

From my reading these puddings are amazingly resilient. They keep for long periods of time. To reheat it on site, I boiled it for another 2 hours. It got a little soggier so I don't think I prepped my cloth appropriately. All in all it was a really good experiment.


ecb said...

This looks very good. Is it something you think you'll make again?

relativelylucid said...

The are a lot of fuss/mess so not too often. I think would modify the recipe as well because no matter how hard I try I just can't seem to like dates. I have been playing around with a subtlety idea that would involve using a pudding so I think I may make one again.