A Receipt for a Pudding
Contributed by Mrs. Cassandra Austen (Jane’s mother) to Martha Lloyd’s collection of recipes, 1808. As this recipe attests, Jane Austen came by her talent honestly. For amusement, her family wrote riddles, charades, poems, and plays for each other. Mrs. Austen excelled at poetry to the extent that one can easily follow her recipe in rhyme.
If the vicar you treat,
You must give him to eat,
A pudding to hit his affection;
And to make his repast,
By the canon of taste,
Be the present receipt your direction.
First take two pounds of Bread,
Be the crumb only weigh’d,
For the crust the good house-wife refuses;
The proportion you’ll guess,
May be made more or less,
To the size that each family chuses.
Then its sweetness to make
Some currants you take
And Sugar of each half a pound
Be not butter forgot
And the quantity sought
Must the same with your currants be found
Cloves & mace you will want,
With rose water I grant,
And more savory things if well chosen;
Then to bind each ingredient,
You’ll find it expedient,
Of Eggs to put in half a dozen.
Some milk dont refuse it,
But boiled ere you use it,
A proper hint this for its maker;
And the whole when compleat,
In a pan clean and neat,
With care recommend to the baker.
In praise of this pudding,
I vouch it a good one,
Or should you suspect a fond word;
To every Guest,
Perhaps it is best,
Two puddings should smoke on the board.
Two puddings! – yet – no,
For if one will do,
The other comes in out of season;
And these lines but obey,
Nor can anyone say,
That this pudding’s with-out rhyme or reason
Jean at Delightful Repast has created a modern interpretation of this bread pudding. It looks so delicious, I think I shall try it at my next Janeites meeting! Click on the link for the recipe. Thank you for sharing, Jean!
Bread and Butter Pudding, also called simply “bread pudding,” is a dessert that has been a first for many of my dinner guests. Since I grew up with it, I’m always amazed when people tell me they’ve never had it before. They always like it and think it was something very difficult and time-consuming to make, when actually it is quite the opposite (Isn’t that what every hostess aims for!).
If you are a Jane Austen aficionado, you may have read her mother’s recipe, written in rhyme. My recipe makes about a fourth the quantity of Mrs. Austen’s and uses proportionately less sugar and butter and more eggs. Also, I skip the cloves and rosewater–the cloves because so many people don’t like them and the rosewater because I seldom have it on hand.
Sometimes I serve it with custard sauce, sometimes with my Banana-Pecan Rum Sauce (see below), but this time I served it with softly whipped cream sweetened with a drop of real maple syrup.