Modern versions of the recipe often include a whole lemon enclosed in the pastry. The dish is first recorded in Hannah Woolley’s 1672 book, The Queen-Like Closet.
Charlie Gray from website Ask Charlie shares her take on the traditional dish.
250g self-raising flour plus extra for greasing and rolling out
50g demerara sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
2 unwaxed lemons
100g cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
150 ml whole milk
Pinch of salt
1. Grease and flour your 1.5 litre heat proof pudding bowl.
2. Roll the lemons on a work surface to release the juices then prick then all over with a cocktail stick
3. Combine the flour, suet and pinch of salt in a large bowl and add in the milk gradually (you may not need all the milk) and using a knife mix the dough together until it comes together then using your hand form into a ball
4. Divide the dough into two ball 1/3 and 2/3 of the dough
5. Light flour the work surface and roll out the larger ball to approx. ½ cm in thickness (don’t go too thin), line the prepared pudding bowl with the rolled out dough
6. Place half the cold cubed butter into the pudding bowl, mix together the sugars and add half the sugar into the bowl with the butter, Add in the prepared lemons and then the rest of the butter and sugar on top
7. Roll out the remainder of the dough but a little thicker than before, this will become the bottom of the pudding, brush the edges with a little milk and place on top milk side down and press gently to form a seal
8. Cover the pudding with a layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of aluminium foil, tie securely with string under the rim of the bowl and create a handle over the top
9. Place in a large saucepan with approximately 10cm of water in the bottom, sitting on a small trivet. Put the lid on the saucepan and bring it to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for a 3 ½ hours.
10. If using an Aga bring to the boil using the boiling plate. Then cook on the floor of the roasting oven for 30 minutes and then move to the simmering oven for at least a further 3 hours
11. Once cooked, remove the bowl from the saucepan, take off the lid carefully remove the pudding from the saucepan. Its best to let the pudding rest for 10 minutes and then invert the pudding onto a serving dish
12. The lemon is delicious so do get everyone to try a piece and serve with custard, cream or even home-made ice-cream.
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