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English Puddings: Sweet and Savoury
by Mary Norwak

    Pease pudding hot! Pease pudding cold!
    Pease pudding in the pot nine days old.

So runs the old rhyme commemorating one of the old bag puddings, which may indeed be one of the very earliest native English dishes. Peas were a basic crop, which could be easily dried for winter, and which formed an important part of peasant diet. The dried peas were even ground to provide a type of flour that could be mixed with other grains for baking. Pease pudding is a traditional accompaniment to salt meat, another item in the staple diet. Any leftover pudding could be reheated for another day, so it is no wonder that the old rhyme sounded slightly despairing.
Serves 4


    • 8 oz (225 g) dried whole or split peas
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 oz (25 g) butter
    • 1 egg
    • Pinch of sugar


Wash the peas and soak them overnight in cold water.
Drain well and tie them in a cloth, leaving room for them to swell.
Put into a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Boil for 2½ hours until the peas are soft.

Take them out of the cloth and put through a sieve, or whirl in an electric blender.
Mix with the salt, pepper, butter, beaten egg and sugar.

Rinse the cloth and dust the inside with flour.
Put in the pea mixture and tie into a ball.

Put into fresh boiling water and boil for 45 minutes.
If preferred, put the puree into a greased pudding basin, cover and steam for 1 hour.


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