The receipt, “An Orange Pudding Another Way,” from Elizabeth Moxon’s English Housewifry, 1764, cookery book intrigued me. I love to make puddings and this seemed special, as she uses Seville oranges. These oranges are very bitter, and most often you find them being made into marmalades with lots of sugar. So how would they taste as a pudding? Late February I went off to my local specialty store to see if I could acquire some. As it happened, they were available and I just needed to order them, which I did. When they called me to let me know they were in, I purchased a dozen and went home. I put them in the closet under the pantry sink and there they kept very well. A week later I tried the receipt and loved it. This is a keeper, and I’m sure it could be made with any orange. Following are the results of the Orange Pudding made in the last workshop.
After cutting a small, round top off the oranges, Lynn and Mary grabbed spoons and scooped out the meat. The next task was to try and remove as much pith as possible without breaking through the skin. It was important to the overall taste of the finish pudding to have the bitterness gone.
To insure that the pudding would be sweet, the carved-out oranges and tops were boiled for 15 minutes, then removed and boiled in clean water again. This helps reduce the bitterness, and make the skin softer.
With the addition of a glass of sack, sugar, currants, and a bit of salt, the pudding was ready. The oranges were cool enough to handle. Like most boiled puddings, this was going to be done in a cloth. I had made individual bags for the oranges out of fine linen. An orange was placed in each bag and the pudding mixture spooned into it.
The tops were placed on the stuffed oranges, and the bags tied. Mary gave us all a good laugh as she used what she called a half-hitch knot to tie the bags to the supports on the pot. Then again, what would you expect from someone who lives by the sea? As long as the oranges did not touch the bottom, and stayed in the bag, we were safe. The pot was placed over the fire and boiling water was added. The pot was watched for the next 45 minutes to make sure it never stopped boiling. When the pudding was done, the oranges were placed into the pantry to cool.
There was some pudding left over, so the girls put it in a dish and grated some nutmeg over it. HMMM, NUTMEG!! If you notice, I never mentioned nutmeg above in the ingredients they use. It seems that it was forgotten. The dish went into the oven and came out smelling wonderful. We had high hopes for stuffed Seville oranges.
At the end of Moxon’s receipt she writes, “You must have a little white wine, butter and sugar for a sauce.” Our sauce included dry sack instead and was warmed by the fire while we waited for the rest of the meal to be done.
Natalie and Mary removed the oranges from their bags and placed one on each plate. In the 18th century, you ate dessert with your meal. (How civilized!)
The Orange Puddings came out wonderfully, and, with the sweet, buttery sauce poured over it, you did not notice that the nutmeg was missing.
This is definitely, as I said before, a keeper receipt; unique, yet simple and elegant.
Fine Sevil oranges, fine lemon, fine;
Round, sound and tender, inside and rine
(An old street cry of London)