Transparent Pudding

This recipe is similar to a chess pie or a pecan pie without the pecans. It has all the classic characteristics of a pudding: eggs, sugar and butter, baked in a single crust.

18th Century

Beat eight Eggs very well, and put them in a Pan with half a Pound of Butter, and the same weight of Loaf Sugar beat very fine, a little grated Nutmeg, set it on the Fire and keep stirring it ‘till it thickens like buttered Eggs, then put it in a Basin to cool, roll a rich puff Paste very thin, lay it round the Edge of a China Dish, then pour in the Pudding, and bake it in a moderate Oven half an Hour, it will cut light and clear. It is a pretty Pudding for a Corner for Dinner and Middle for Supper.

Raffald, Elizabeth. “The Experienced English Housekeeper” pg.149

21st Century

  • 8 Grade A Large eggs
  • 2 4-oz. sticks unsalted butter
  • puff pastry to line 9” pie plate
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the eggs till they are light in color using a whisk or an electric mixer.
  3. Place eggs in saucepan with 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 1/8 cup of sugar, and the two sticks of butter that have been cut into small pieces. Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove from the heat and place mixture in a bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
  5. Prepare puff pastry or use frozen puff pastry sheets (follow package directions for thawing), and line a 9” glass pie pan, trimming excess pastry from edge of pan.
  6. Pour cooled filling into pie pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until pudding mixture is set and crust is brown around the edges. Turn off the oven and leave the pudding in the oven for an additional 10 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
  7. This pudding is best served at room temperature. Be sure to allow pudding to cool completely before cutting into slices.

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8 Responses to “Transparent Pudding”

  1. December 20th, 2011

    Vania Jenny says:

    I really enjoyed reading the original recipe and then comparing the language to modern cooking terms in the second recipe. Although this dessert doesn’t sound like one I’d enjoy I’m interested to give it a try.

  2. December 30th, 2011

    Aaron Sowers says:

    I don’t know if this is how it should look since in the top picture it’s darker but it still taste pretty good. We used a homemade pie dough.

  3. October 27th, 2012

    Mercy Riggs Hawkins says:

    Could you explain the last sentence, “It is a pretty Pudding for a Corner for Dinner and Middle for Supper” in the 18th Century receipt? I thank thee.

    • November 1st, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      Good question. We don’t often get asked questions about the original language in a recipe. Your 18th-century dinner tables were laid out in a symetrical fashion. This showed balance to not only the table but was an outward way of reflecting that in one’s life as well.

      Let’s imagine you had five dishes for dinner and the layout of the plates looked like the five dots on a dice. One plate on the center and four corner dishes. So the pudding would be appropriate as a corner dish for dinner. Its matching dish on the opposite corner would be of the same kind of food, in this case a sweet dish. You might have a meat with vegetables in the center and the other corner dishes might be smaller cuts of meat with vegetables or like kinds of food. There is the balance.

      For the supper, the pudding would be in the center and dishes of other like foods for a cold supper. The point is that the table should look balanced with however many dishes are presented. Thanks much for the observation.

      -Dennis Cotner

  4. November 5th, 2012

    Ginger says:

    I just tried this a few days ago. When I cut into it, it’s clear that the eggs appeared to separate when baking, so there’s a layer of very eggy custard at the bottom, with a layer of lighter, grainier, sweeter stuff on top. All of the nutmeg ended up in the top layer. Do you have any suggestions to offer? I beat the eggs for several minutes with a mixer, and I cooked the mixture until it was definitely getting thick. The butter was almost all melted, and it was a lot smoother than what’s in the video. I let it cool before baking it, but it was still warm. Any ideas where I went wrong?

    • November 6th, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      This recipe can be tricky at times. The key is to whip your eggs well but not to overdo it. The sugar blended with the eggs should make it fairly smooth. Cooking the mixture slowly will help some. The coating of the spoon should be smooth, not too clumpy. There should be some seperation when baked with the custard being distinct and the top a little foamy. Hope this helps. Keep trying, all you good cooks out there!

      -Dennis Cotner

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