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Curate's Pudding

Puddings and Sweet Deserts

Any of several forms of easily-made pudding, most notably a baked sweetened potato confection, presumably named as being suitable for impoverished and inexperienced bachelors such as curates.

The earliest known use of the name (Acton 1845) is for a rhubarb bread pudding. From the beginning of the 20th century the name came to be associated with several types of potato pudding, both sweet and savoury, and at least one receipt is for a plain egg batter pudding.

Compare with Potato Pudding

Rhubarb Curate's Pudding
Image: Alex Bray...

Original Receipt from 'Modern Cookery for Private Families' by Eliza Acton (Acton 1845);

The Curate's Pudding.
This is but a variation of the pudding a la Paysanne which precedes it, but as it is both good and inexpensive it may be acceptable to some of our readers. Wash, wipe, and pare some quickly grown rhubarb-stalks, cut them into short lengths, and put a layer of them into a deep dish with a spoonful or two of Lisbon sugar; cover these evenly with part of a penny roll sliced thin; add another thick layer of fruit and sugar, then one of bread, then another of the rhubarb; cover this last with a deep layer of fine bread-crumbs well mingled with about a tablespoonful of sugar, pour a little clarified butter over them, and send the pudding to a brisk oven. From thirty to forty minutes will bake it. Good boiling apples sliced, sweetened, and flavoured with nutmeg or grated lemon-rind, and covered with well buttered slices of bread, make an excellent pudding of this kind, and so do black currants likewise, without the butter.

Original Receipt from 'Lessons in cookery. Hand-book of the National training school for cookery (South Kensington, London) To which is added, The principles of diet in health and disease' (1879)


Ingredients. One pound of potatoes. Three eggs. One pint of milk. Sugar.
Time required, about one hour.

To make a Curates (or Sweet Potato) Pudding :
1. Wash one pound of potatoes and boil them (see "Vegetables," Lesson First). N. B. Any remains of cold boiled potatoes may be used instead of fresh ones.
2. Rub these boiled potatoes through a colander into a basin with a wooden spoon.
3. Break three eggs into another basin, and stir into them one pint of milk.
4. Stir the milk and eggs smoothly into the potatoes, and add sugar to taste.
5. Grease a quart pie-dish, and pour the mixture into it.
6. Put it in the oven (the heat should be 220) and bake half an hour ; it will then be ready for serving.

Original Receipt in the 'Lichfield Mercury' - Friday 15 February 1901

Curate Pudding.—Beat two eggs with their weight in flour, fresh butter, and white sugar; when well mixed, pour into four teacups well buttered and bake a quick oven. Serve with jelly or sweet sauce

Original Receipt from the 'Southern Reporter' - Thursday 3 December 1908

Curate's Pudding.— Press a pound of boiled potatoes through a wire sieve while they are hot, add two ounces of dissolved butter to them, the grated rinds and juice of two lemons, a pinch salt, and five ounces of sugar. Mix all well together, then place in a buttered pie dish, and bake in moderate oven about half hour. This pudding should served at once, and may turned out on a hot dish, and raspberry flavoured sauce poured round it.

'The Curate's Egg' refers to any desperate attempt to claim there is good in something completely bad, from the 1895 cartoon.

Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones"; Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"
"True Humility" by George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 1895.

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