Puddings in Haste!

In the 18th century, puddings were once a culinary staple of much of the western world. Many types existed but most called for long cooking times. Hasty puddings (or as they were often called “puddings in haste”) became popular for their convenience. This was especially favorable for frontiersmen and frontierswomen who, armed with versatile and expedient cooking utensils like the Dutch oven, desired a hearty and delicious meal on-the-go. Jon discusses Dutch ovens and a lovely recipe for a hasty pudding in the video below:

This Hasty Pudding recipe is from Maria Eliza Rundell’s 1807 cookbook A New System of Domestic Cookery:


Puddings in Haste (makes 10-12 puddings)

Ingredients (Measurements by Jon Townsend)

  • 1 Cup fine bread crumbs or crushed Ship’s Biscuits (purchasable here)
  • 1/2 cup Zante currants or raisins
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 1 cup Grated Suet (Make sure to watch the episode “Rendering Suet” or read the blogposts, “Suet” parts one through four, to better understand the importance of and how to work with this product.)
  • Flour for Dredging
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger


Bring water to a boil in a Dutch oven

In a bowl incorporate evenly the bread crumbs, raisins, lemon zest, and suet.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and ginger.

Mix all of ingredients together until the dough is even. (It should be quite thick.)

Roll the mixture into egg sized balls.

Dredge the pudding balls in flour.


Cook in boiling water for 15-20 minutes.

Remove them from the water and let them dry for about 3 minutes.


Serve them hot or cold.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 11.46.52 PM

Rundell recommends serving her recipe with a “pudding sauce”. Below is a pudding sauce recipe:

Pudding Sauce


  • 1 Cup Butter (cubed and chilled)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Sack (or Sherry Wine)


Simmer the sugar and sack together in a small saucepan.


Remove the mixture from fire and immediately add cold butter (a few cubes at a time) while whisking vigorously.


Serve immediately atop the hasty pudding and enjoy!


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6 Responses to Puddings in Haste!

  1. Susan Sommers says:

    If you can’t get suet is there an acceptable substitute? Thanks

    • Anon-ish says:

      In one of the earlier posts, he suggests “very cold diced butter or frozen vegetable shortening (instead of hard muscle fats)…If you opt for either of these substitutions, you’ll have to work fast.” (I’m pretty sure it’s the “Please bring back the Puddings” post, but it might be one of the suet posts). The texture would be different, but it might do in a pinch.

    • Steven Larson says:

      Another source even suggests bacon grease as a substitute, which sounds delicious! But yes, it sounds like you must work quickly.

    • Kevin W. Pierce says:

      Clarified butter that is very cold or frozen is about the only good substitute for this particular recipe.

  2. Anon-ish says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of boiled puddings use dried fruit. If fresh fruit is used instead, is there a difference in process or finished product? I guessed dried fruit was used because it stores better and is consistently available, but is there some further reason or extra process the pudding needs to come out well?

    I mean, in something baked less liquid should be added to compensate, but a boiled pudding is getting moisture from the water around it… so it might just absorb less? Or it might fall apart because the moisture is already inside the dough – any hints?

  3. James says:

    These were great when we made them at a recent re-enactment! Made them without the Ginger and zest to create great campaign food!

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