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Sussex Pond Pudding

The "pond" in a Sussex pond comes from the liquid that slowly cooks inside the pastry; as the pudding steams, butter and brown sugar melt into sliced lemons, morphing into a glossy, perfumed sauce (our take has kumquats as well).

  • Yield: Makes 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2007

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more softened for parchment, or 6 ounces shredded suet
  • 3/4 cup ice water

For the Filling

  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 12 kumquats, halved crosswise, seeds removed
  • 1 small lemon, very thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed

Directions

  1. Make the dough: Pulse flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water, and process until mixture forms a soft dough. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

  2. Set a round wire rack in bottom of a large stockpot. Set four 1-cup pudding basins or ramekins (about 3 3/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches high) on rack. Fill pot with enough water to come about three-quarters of the way up sides of pudding basins. Remove basins, and dry. Cover pot, and bring to a boil.

  3. Butter four 5-inch rounds of parchment paper; set aside. Unwrap dough; transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick, and cut out four 9-inch rounds. Cut a 2-inch wedge from each round to make it easier to fit dough into basins; wrap wedges and remaining scraps of dough in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use. Fit a dough round into each basin, overlapping cut sides of wedge and pressing seams to seal, allowing a 1-inch overhang.

  4. Fill the puddings: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar into each basin. Divide butter among basins. Add kumquats and lemon slices, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

  5. Transfer remaining dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Using 2 1/2-inch cutters, cut out 4 rounds. Place on top of filling. Fold overhang over top, and pinch seams to seal.

  6. Place a parchment round, buttered side down, on top of each pudding. Make a pleat in center of each round. Cover each with a 6-inch round of foil, pleating if desired. For each pudding, cut a piece of kitchen twine about 3 feet long. Wrap twine twice around basin over foil, just below lip. Knot to secure. Tie loose ends to twine on other side of basin, creating a handle.

  7. Lower puddings into boiling water; cover. Return to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and steam 2 1/2 hours, adding boiling water occasionally to maintain level.

  8. Transfer puddings to a wire rack, and let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of bowls to loosen, and invert puddings onto serving plates. Serve warm.

Cook's Notes

Three steps lead up to the finish: Individual heat-proof pudding bowls are lined with the pastry and stuffed with fruit and other filling ingredients. The uncooked puddings are sealed with buttered parchment or wax paper (pleated to allow for expansion) and sheets of foil; kitchen twine is looped and tied tightly around the sides and over the tops of the bowls to form convenient handles. The desserts can then be anchored in a pot of boiling water fitted with a rack -- and hoisted when fully cooked.

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