18th century cookbook authors tended towards hyperbole, but this recipe title from Mary Kettilby really takes the cake (or pudding).
But is it really the best orange pudding that ever was tasted? I finally got my hands on some Seville oranges, so it’s time to find out!
Orange Pudding (sized down for a 7-inch pie pan):
- 1 tbsp of grated Seville orange rind, chopped fine
- 3 oz butter, melted and cooled
- 3 oz sugar
- 6 egg yolks
Pie Crust (the book doesn’t have a recipe for this, I just used a basic pie crust recipe):
- 150 g flour
- 75 g butter
- pinch salt
- enough cold water to form a dough
- To make the crust, rub cold butter into the flour and salt. Add just enough cold water to form a dough. Chill for about 30 minutes.
- After rolling it out and placing it in the dish, chill for another 30 minutes (This is supposed to help keep the crust from shrinking. It did not help in my case).
- I decided to blind bake my crust, because with such a small pie I was worried about the crust not cooking all the way. This may not be strictly necessary, especially with a larger or deeper pie pan where the filling would have to cook for longer. If you want to blind bake, follow the next two steps; if not, skip ahead to step 6.
- Fill with pie weights and bake at 375 degrees until edges start to turn golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove weights, prick holes in the bottom, and bake for another 7 to 8 minutes until bottom crust begins to brown.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
- Whisk orange rind, melted cooled butter, sugar, and egg yolks together in a bowl until well incorporated.
- Pour filling into the pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set. Pay attention close to the end – mine went from liquid to solid very quickly. Let the pudding cool before serving.
This has almost exactly the same taste and texture as a good lemon curd. The Seville orange rind gives it just a hint of orange flavor. The filling is solid enough to cut, although it was difficult to get clean-looking slices without the surface breaking or the pie crust crumbling. Mary Kettilby doesn’t give any clues as to how to serve this pudding. In the 18th century, “pudding” often referred to open-faced pies, such as pumpkin pie, that could be served in slices like modern pies. However, it’s also possible that this could have been just scooped out of the dish with a spoon. It would be messier, but equally delicious.
I really do like this pudding, mostly because it reminds me so much of lemon curd. It is extremely rich and buttery, so I am glad I made a small one! It’s difficult to eat more than a little piece at a time. Since I have never tried any other orange puddings, I cannot confirm if this is the best orange pudding that ever was tasted…but I can say it is the best that I have ever tasted.
Kettilby, M. (1714). A collection of above three hundred receipts in cookery, physick, and surgery. London: printed for Richard Wilkin. https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_Collection_of_Above_Three_Hundred_Rece/pK6RIvi8M1AC?hl=en&gbpv=1