7 Quintessentially British Puddings to Try at Home This FallSeptember 18, 2020
Now that fall is upon us and the weather's starting to get colder, you might find yourself craving a sweet treat that really warms your bones. This is where traditional British puddings come in: they're sweet, appealingly stodgy, and have a comforting nostalgic quality to them. Here are seven all-time classics that aren't too tricky to make yourself.
1. Sticky Toffee Pudding
Though it was popularized in the '70s by the Sharrow Bay Hotel in England's Lake District, it's believed that the sticky toffee pudding was actually invented by Patricia Martin, a woman from nearby Lancashire, with a little help from some Canadian friends. Whatever the exact origin story, there's no doubting it's a modern British classic perfect for chilly evenings. Packed with dates and covered in toffee sauce, this super-moist sponge cake is unbeatable comfort food.
2. Treacle Tart
Harry Potter fans will know this dessert as a favorite of Harry's which is often served at Hogwarts. It dates back to the 19th century and is made by filling shortcrust pastry with a thick filling of golden syrup, breadcrumbs, and lemon zest. Serve it up with cream, ice cream, or custard, and feel free to call your loved one "treacle tart" afterward, because it's Cockney rhyming slang for "sweetheart."
3. Rhubarb Crumble
Crumbles became popular in the U.K. during World War II, when rationing made them a more economical alternative to the usual pastry-based desserts. They're made by topping stewed fruit with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour, sugar, and sometimes oatmeal too. Stewed rhubarb is a popular option, but apple, blackberry, peach, gooseberry, and plum are often found in crumbles, too.
Parkin is very much a regional sweet treat: it's most commonly associated with Yorkshire and neighboring county Lancashire, and is much better known in northern England than areas further south. It's a type of gingerbread cake traditionally made with oatmeal and black treacle (which is similar to molasses), and baked to be hard before softening again after a few days later, at which point it's best to serve it.
5. Bread and Butter Pudding
The humble bread and butter pudding is around 300 years old: there's a recipe for one in Eliza Smith's 1728 book The Compleat Housewife. It's made by layering slices of buttered bread in an oven dish, scattering them with raisins, then pouring over a spice-infused custard mixture. Then, simply bake it in the oven and it's done. Fancier modern variations substitute brioche or panettone for regular white bread, but some foodies think the classic recipe is best.
6. Spotted Dick
This traditional pudding made from suet is so called because it contains chunks of dried fruit which resemble spots. Still, its suggestive name definitely appeals to the British sense of humor. In 2018, it was even reported that restaurant staff at the U.K.'s Houses of Parliament had renamed it "Spotted Richard" because this was "less likely to cause a stir with guests."
7. Jam Roly-Poly
Older Brits tend to associate this traditional pudding with school dinners. It's made by spreading suet with strawberry jam (jelly), then rolling it up in the style of a Swiss roll and baking. In times past it sometimes went by a much less cute name, "Dead Man's Arm" or "Dead Man's Leg," because it was often baked and served in an old shirt sleeve.
Have we missed out one of your favorite British puddings?