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Sussex Pond Pudding

This month we are celebrating all things Sussex so how about making a traditional Sussex dessert? Adele Trathan has put her spin on this old suet pastry pudding recipe that encases a whole lemon. Once steamed, the lemon should be almost candied and luxuriating in a pond of butter and sugar. Decadent!


  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 110g (4oz) shredded suet
  • 150ml (6fl oz) milk
  • 200g (7oz) butter, chilled and cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g (7oz) soft brown sugar
  • 1 large ripe, unwaxed, thin-skinned lemon, pricked all over with a skewer


  1. Mix the flour and suet together in a bowl, then add the milk gradually to create a soft, but not sticky, dough.
  2. Remove a quarter of the dough ball and set aside. Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface to make a large circle (approximately 30cm).
  3. Grease a 1½ litre (2¾ pint) heatproof basin or bowl, and line the bowl with the dough.
  4. Place half of the butter cubes and half of the sugar into the bottom of the lined bowl.
  5. Put the lemon, which should be pricked all over (so the juices can escape), on top of the butter and sugar.
  6. Place the remaining butter and sugar on top of the lemon to fill the bowl.
  7. Roll out the reserved quarter of dough into a circle and then place it on top of the basin. Press the edges of the two doughs together to seal the pudding.
  8. Place a piece of greased foil, with a pleat in the middle, over the basin. Tie the foil securely in place with string, then create a string handle over the top, so the pudding can be easily moved when hot.
  9. Locate an upturned saucer in the bottom of a large saucepan then place the basin on top. Add boiling water and fill to half-way up the side of the basin. Cover the pan with a lid. Bring to a simmer and steam for 3 hours, adding more boiling water when the level falls too low.
  10. After 3 hours carefully remove the basin from the pan and remove the foil lid.
  11. Put a deep dish over the basin and turn the pudding out onto the dish.
  12. Serve immediately, the delicious juices should flow to create the pond – perfect with double cream or vanilla ice cream.