Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plain Swiss (Suet) Pudding

Things A Lady Would Like To Know [1876]

True love, like the eye, can bear no flaw. --Laveter.

Once again showing a lamentable taste in quotations, we proceed, at last, to the long-awaited suet pudding. Queen Victoria, like most Victorians, had a basic distrust of vegetables. Her Majesty in particular lived on a diet made up almost entirely of beef and puddings.

In the absence of a pudding mold, I ended up smooshing it into a metal bowl and setting it on top of a coil of aluminum foil inside a pot of boiling water. I took great care with the smooshing, so that it would detach from the bowl easily and lie there in a beautiful, smooth hemisphere.

Not so much.

Plain Swiss Pudding
Chop very fine 6 oz. of beef suet, and mix it well with 8 oz. of breadcrumbs, 1/2 lb. of apples, pared, cored, and minced fine; add 8 oz. of powdered white sugar*, the juice of 1 lemon, and the peel grated, with a pinch of salt. Well mix all the above ingredients, and put it into a buttered mold; boil it, and when done, turn it out and serve.

From the White House Cook Book [1887] "Sauces for Puddings" section:

Milk or Cream Sauce:
Cream or rich milk, simply sweetened with plenty of white sugar and flavored, answers the purpose of some kinds of pudding, and can be made very quickly.

Verdict: Um. Mixed. The flavor was really, really, really good. Rich and sweet and buttery tasting and fruity and luscious. Really, it is one of the best things my tongue has ever had the pleasure of tasting. That is saying something, considering what I used for breadcrumbs was failed whole wheat bread that was as dense as a brick. Not a bit like beef. But. Every bite leaves a heavy, waxy coating all around the inside of the mouth. It coats the back of the teeth and doesn't leave. It is awful. The bits from the bottom of the bowl were the worst, I think the suet kind of pooled there. The bits from the top were much better. Husband ate all of his portion and only noticed the fattiness after I pointed it out. I ate a few bites, then couldn't stand the wax build-up any more.

I am unsure whether this result is just because that is how suet puddings are, or because this particular recipe or cookbook has a particularly high ratio of suet to other stuff.

*"Powdered" here means "Smashed up from the brick or cone it came in."


Nancy said...

Now just imagine that lovely waxy coating all over the inside of your arteries!

Jana said...


ladyhawthorne said...

Sounds like the way my mouth feels when I have had grocery store cake with thick icing. Tastes good but then I want to know where's my toothbrush!

Jana said...

Ew, yes! Crisco plus sugar. Blah.

Linda said...

I'm becoming fearful to come to your house in March.......

Jana said...

Don't be afraid! I have lots of suet left, don't worry.

Michele said...

The steamed pudding with suet that I made wasn't that waxy. It was a Plum Pudding and more like a very moist fruit cake.

Jana said...

Michele, you give me hope.

Nonna Beach said...

Once again your bravery astounds me !!!