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Mrs. Austen's Pudding

Serves 6-8



  • 5 cups soft white breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 small-medium eggs, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon rose water

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • pinch of cloves

  • pinch of mace

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • small pinch of white pepper

  • 3/4 cup currants (fresh taste best, but dried work perfectly well)

  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Set the oven to 350ºF. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and place it on the lowest rack of the oven. Dry them for 5-10 minutes, turning them over half way through to dry them evenly.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then beat in the eggs and rose water.

  3. Add the breadcrumbs, mixing them in with a fork.

  4. Stir in the lemon zest, cloves, mace, salt and white pepper. Add the currants.

  5. Mix everything together with the milk. It will have a rather crumbly texture.

  6. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 3 2/3-cup pudding mold or oven-proof soufflé dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  7. Leave to stand in the dish for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.


Adapted from The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Dierdre Le Faye.

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A Receipt for a Pudding

By Mrs. Austen

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 pound of Bread,

Be the crumb only weigh'd,

For 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,

Youll 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 without rhyme or reason.

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