Sussex Pond Pudding with Orange and Vanilla Crème Anglaise

Bold citrus flavours flood (literally!) this classic English pudding, to which Jean-Christophe Novelli has added a soothingly creamy French custard
By Jean-Christophe Novelli
Sussex Pond Pudding with Orange and Vanilla Crème Anglaise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 100 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225 g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g shredded suet
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large thin-skinned lemon
  • 100 g demerara sugar

For the orange and vanilla cr�me anglaise

  • 1 large orange, juice and grated zest
  • 1 tbsp kirsch
  • 2 vanilla pods, split
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 300 ml full-fat milk


1. Lavishly grease a 900ml pudding basin with butter and set aside.

2. To make the pastry, combine the flour, suet and salt in a mixing bowl and gradually add 150ml cold water, stirring to give a soft dough.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Roll out to give a 36cm circle, using a little more flour to prevent sticking. Cut out a quarter of the circle and set it aside to use for the pudding lid. Use the remaining dough to line the base and sides of the prepared basin. Brush the cut edges with a little water, overlap them slightly and press together well to seal.

4. Prick the lemon all over, pressing deep enough that you go right into the flesh. Cut the 100g of butter into small pieces and mix it with the demerara sugar.

5. Put half of the butter and sugar mixture into the lined pudding basin piling it slightly up the sides of the dough. Add the lemon and surround it with the rest of the butter and sugar mixture.

6. Roll the reserved piece of dough into a circle about 1cm larger than the top of the basin. Brush the edge with water and press it firmly onto the top of the pudding. Crimp the edges together to make a good seal. Cover the basin with a pleated, buttered sheet of foil and tie it securely in place with string.

7. Put a trivet or upturned saucer into the base of a pot or large saucepan. Add water to a depth of about 5cm and bring to the boil. Carefully place the pudding in the pan, cover with a well-fitting lid and leave it to steam for 4 hours, topping up the boiling water now and then with hot water from the kettle.

8. Meanwhile, to make the crème anglaise, combine the juice of the orange, the kirsch and one of the split vanilla pods in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil hard until the mixture has reduced to give a thick syrup. Set aside in a warm place.

9. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium-sized heatproof bowl until well blended. In a separate bowl, half-whip 70ml of the cream and set aside.

10. Scrape out the second vanilla pod, and combine the pod and seeds in a thick-bottomed saucepan with the milk, 230ml of the cream, and the orange zest. Bring the mixture to scalding point.

11. Place the bowl containing the beaten egg yolks and sugar over a pan of hot water. Whisk the heated cream mixture into the egg yolks so that as the eggs warm, the mixture thickens to create a custard. Stir constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

12. Remove the bowl of custard from the water. Fold in the orange reduction and the half-whipped cream and set aside.

13. To serve, uncover the pudding and run a round-bladed knife around the rim to release it from the basin. Invert the pudding onto a serving plate and cut into wedges. Make sure each person gets some of the lemon along with the pastry and buttery sauce. Serve with the custard.

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