Drum roll please……. accompanied by the royal salute, I hereby present Royal Windsor Pudding!
I say, before we further our acquaintance; you may observe a one-off performance of the “royal wave” – which must be reciprocated with a curtsy or bow. Now the formalities are over and done with, one bids you a rather jovial welcome to the royal household of Miss Windsor’s Delectables – How do you do?
Darlings, one must admit, Miss Windsor has gone a bit pudding mad, of late! You see, following the success of Mrs Beeton’s Spicy Suet Carrot Pudding, one felt compelled to have another go at recreating a Victorian slice of food history, or in this case, a Georgian slice of food history! And may I remark, if a recipe was written between 1795 and 1837, many folks refer to that period of the Georgian era as “Regency”, thus Regency cookery.
By the way, I was instantly attracted to this recipe because of its original title of Windsor Pudding – very appropriate for cuisine favoured by Miss Windsor! Of course, one added “Royal” to the title, which gives it a trifle more pizazz!
Darlings, I presume you’ve already “twigged” that my darling sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I, share the same splendid surname of “Windsor”!
And although I would revel in the fact that we’re distant relatives and eager to tell you so; but that, of course, would be an outright fib! Therefore, Her Majesty is merely my beloved royal counterpart, although as yet, we haven’t had the pleasure of a formal introduction – but one mustn’t fret, as Grandmother Josie often advised, “All good things come to those who wait, my dear.”
Moving swiftly on, I discovered this frightfully regal recipe in my 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, which I presume was featured in the first edition that was published in 1861 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
In fact, this recipe is much older than first thought, as I was pleased to discover that Windsor Pudding (according to the jolly old internet!) commenced its culinary journey during the Georgian or Regency era – How fascinating!
You see, whilst scouring through the archives of the Foods of England website (put link) I stumbled across Windsor Pudding - I say, thank goodness for modern technology! And I was enthralled to read that in 1822 Mary Eaton first recorded this scrumptious pudding recipe in The Cook and Housekeeper’s Dictionary.
“Original Receipt in 'The Cook and Housekeeper's Dictionary' by Mary Eaton (Eaton 1822);
WINDSOR PUDDING. Shred half a pound of suet very fine, grate into it half a pound of French roll, a little nutmeg, and the rind of a lemon. Add to these half a pound of chopped apple, half a pound of currants clean washed and fried, half a pound of jar raisins stoned and chopped, a glass of rich sweet wine, and five eggs well beaten, with a little salt. Mix all thoroughly together, and boil it in a basin or mould for three hours. Sift fine sugar over it when sent to table, and pour white wine sauce into the dish.”
Therefore, without the aid of Miss Marple’s investigative skills (by the way, she’s an elderly “detective” character in Agatha Christie novels), my research also revealed how this regal pud received its title. Well, to start “Eaton” is Mary’s surname, and Eaton is located near “Windsor” in Berkshire, England.
Also, she may have resided in Eaton or Windsor - who knows! but nevertheless, it’s obvious how one can easily conclude the origins of this pudding – and there you have it!
Now, regarding the ingredients of Royal Windsor Pudding, I must admit I’m a tad baffled by Mrs Beeton’s Victorian version, as it’s peppered with discrepancies’ and lack of or choice of alternative ingredients. First off, the Georgian or Regency recipe calls for “suet”, and the Victorian recipe calls for no suet at all!
Evidently, Mrs Beeton (actually, I mean the real author of this recipe, as Mrs Beeton only ever developed ONE recipe in her lifetime - Useful Soup for Benevolent Purposes) replaced suet with “Carolina” or pudding rice, which is very odd as suet was all the rage in Victorian England.
Also, as per Mary Eaton’s recipe, what the heck is French roll? Of course, I consulted my modern mentor: the jolly old internet, and I was unable to find a sausage on it! So, my dears, if you have an inkling of a clue, please do indulge Miss Windsor.
Moving on, thankfully the ingredient of apple is included in both recipes, however, Mrs Beeton’s version failed to include chopped raisins, currants, and according to Mary’s Eaton’s instruction not even a drop of “rich sweet wine”, instead half a teaspoon of lemon juice, which I increased to one tablespoon - How exciting!
I say, the true anomaly for Miss Windsor, is why on earth did the real author of Mrs Beeton’s version use four “egg whites” instead of four whole blimmin’ eggs? Also, although I gave this recipe a jolly good crack of the whip! surprisingly it turned out like a steaming hot, pale coloured, virtually anaemic looking, wobbly blancmange – a culinary catastrophe, indeed!
But do not despair, as Grandmother Josie would often trumpet, “There’s no use crying over spilled milk!” – take heed, Miss Windsor. I say my dears, I certainly took heed, and recreated this recipe again with the addition of brown breadcrumbs.
Now, before I leave you to proceed with this recipe, I must proclaim that this divine pud has been subject to intense scrutiny by Miss Windsor’s fine palate, and of course passed the taste test with flying colours. Thus, this magnificent pudding was awarded Miss Windsor’s Royal Stamp of Approval for superior flavour, queenly quality, and for its OUTSTANDING contribution to the arena of food history – Bravo!
A little TIP: why not split the pudding mixture between two x 1-pint (570ml or 20 US fl oz) pudding basins, as this will cut down the steaming time considerably – only an hour or so, as opposed to three!
Serve each slice with a generous helping of Birds Custard - I say I do wonder if our trusty, old-fashioned, British household brand of Birds is a firm favourite of the royal family?
Enjoy the very best of royal fayre!
ROYAL WINDSOR PUDDING RECIPE
Preparation time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Cooking time: 1 & 1/4 hours (1-pint pudding basin) or approx. 3 hours (2-pint pudding basin)
Serves 4 to 8 guests depending on your chosen pudding basin or baking vessel!
two x 1-pint (570ml or 20 US fl oz) pudding basins or one x 2-pint (just over 1.1 litres or 40 US fl oz) pudding basin.
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY MISS WINDSOR, EXCEPT FOR THE QUEEN MOTHER!
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