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Bread pudding

Bread pudding has been a mainstay of English domestic cuisine for centuries. The way it is made has hardly altered with the passage of time, as we can see from this 18th century recipe from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies:

"To Make a Bread Pudding": an 18th century recipe from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

“To Make a Bread Pudding”: an 18th century recipe from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Make a Bread Pudding

Take a  meonshit [manchet]. Cut of the crust, slice it in thin slices the pour a quart of boyling milk on it. Then take 12 eggs, half the whites. Beat them very well with a little nutmeg, a qr of a pd of sugar, 2 or 3 spoonfulls of rose water, a glass of sack. Mix all the ingredients well together. Butter yr pan. 3 qrs of an hour bakes it. The same way for boyling, only put in a small spoonfull of flower. An hour for boyling. You may put in sewit if you please. Sack, butter & sugar for sauce. When boyled, don’t mix the pudding till the milk is cold.

The bread used, manchet, was high quality wheaten yeast loaf made with a fine crumb that could stand up to the addition of hot milk and eggs. Manchet isn’t a term much used today, but any white loaf with a regular, close crumb should fit the bill. Why not give it a go?

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4 thoughts on “Bread pudding

  1. I’ve only just discovered this blog recently, so forgive me if this has been covered before. What is ‘sack’? I’ve done an internet search and haven’t come up with much. Love these recipes and the blog.

  2. I love these old spellings — boyling, sewit, flower for flour. I think I might start of glossary of them, although that could turn into one of those unwieldy (and unpaid) life-long projects. 😉 Anyway, thanks for the recipe.

    • Hi Karen, thanks so much for your message! Yes, the spellings do lend the recipes a lot of character – and sometimes it’s almost as if you can ‘hear’ the ladies’ accents through the way they spell out their ingredients. It would be a really interesting project to make up some sort of chart of the spellings and how they evolve – it might also help solve some of the mysteries around who authored the Cookbook and exactly when they were writing. But you are right, it would be a pretty serious undertaking!

      One of my favourite spellings is still ‘harticholk’ from the recipe for preserving artichokes…
      https://lostcookbook.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/artichokes

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