Sussex Pond Pudding Recipe

Never heard of Sussex Pond Pudding? Well, it’s not surprising as this traditional English dessert is seldom seen nowadays, although a few gastro-pubs in the UK are now starting to put it on their menus. It’s a classic English steamed suet pudding with a surprise at its centre – a whole lemon. The lemon becomes very soft during cooking and blends into the butter and sugar to produce a rich lemon-flavoured sauce. This oozes out when the pudding is cut open – like a pond. As the name suggests, it’s thought to have originated in the English county of Sussex.

If you don’t get the chance to taste some on your culinary tour, why not make some at home? It’s well worth the trouble.

This recipe for Sussex Pond Pudding comes from Porters – English Cookery Bible by Richard, Earl of Bradford and Carol Wilson (Portico Books, £12.99). It appears here with their permission. Serve it with some Cornish clotted cream, vanilla ice-cream or rich Greek yoghurt.

Sussex Pond Pudding


225g/8oz self-raising (self-rising) flour

110g/4oz/4 tablespoons shredded suet (shortening)

150ml/5fl oz/generous ½ cup milk and water, mixed

110g/4oz/1 stick butter, diced

110g/4oz/¾ cup light muscovado (light brown muscovado)sugar

50g/2oz/4 tablespoons currants (optional)

1 large lemon


Combine the flour and suet in a mixing bowl and add the liquid. Mix to a soft dough and roll out on a floured surface into a large circle. Reserve a quarter of the circle of dough for the lid.

Line a well-buttered 1.5-litre/2½-pint/6½-cup pudding basin with the pastry. Put half the butter and half the sugar into the pastry-lined basin and scatter in the currants, if using. Prick the lemon all over with a skewer and place whole on top of the butter and sugar. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.

Lay the reserved pastry over the filling and press the edges together to seal completely. Cover with greaseproof paper with a pleat folded in the middle to allow the pudding to rise and cover this with pleated foil. Tie securely and put the basin into a large pan of boiling water so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and boil for 3½ hours, replenishing with boiling water as needed.

Ease the sides of the pudding away from the basin with a palette knife. Turn out the pudding very carefully into a deep dish. Serve immediately, making sure that everyone gets a piece of lemon.

Now go from Sussex Pond Pudding to English Food Festivals