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Deddington Pudden Pie

Pies and Pastries
Puddings and Sweet Deserts

(Or Deddington Pudding Pie, Pudding-Pie)

A shallow, open pastry case of hard hot-water paste filled with a pudding confection, baked. Once a speciality at the annual Deddington Fair held on November 22nd and known as the "Pudden Pie Fair", and still occasionally made locally. (White 1932, etc)

Deddington Pudden Pie
Image: http://bakingforbritain.blogspot.co.uk

The distinctive feature of Deddington Pudden Pie seems to be that the crusts were prepared in advance and thoroughly dried-out before filling. A persistent story (here from The Deddington Historical Society Newsletter for March 2001) is that "They say you could tie a label to one and send it through the post a hundred miles - so hard it was.

'Dutton, Allen, & co.'s directory & gazetteer of Oxon, Berks & Bucks' of 1863 says;
"... their peculiarity appears to consist in the preparing of a stiff paste about a fortnight before the festival and allowing the same to become hard by exposure, then filled with the same materials as an ordinary plum pudding, and afterwards baked."

The compendium 'Notes and Queries' for 1869 reports;
"Old Customs at Deddington
From time immemorial on November 22nd a fair has been held annually at Deddington, formerly a market town in the north of Oxfordshire, for the sale of horses cows pig &c, and a number of stalls and shows are put up in the old market place. The tradespeople and others had used to have all but open housekeeping for their friends and customers, but this has much diminished.
One peculiarity connected with it is it is called Pudding Pie Fair, and woe betides that farmer when he gets home from the gathering if he has not brought some pudding pies.
The bakers and others set to work a week or ten days beforehand preparing these eatables and although many hundreds are baked most of them disappear by the evening of the twenty second. These are made by setting up a crust composed of flour mixed with milk or water and mutton suet melted and poured into it hot. These crusts which are set up like meat pie crusts, are then placed in the sun for a day or two to stiffen. They vary in size from about three to four inches in diameter, and are about one inch deep. When thoroughly hard they are filled with the same materials as plum puddings are made of and, when baked, are sold at twopence, threepence and fourpence each.
One more custom which used to be observed here on this day I will mention - November 22 is St Cecilia's Day and till within the last half century a band used to usher in the fair by going round the town about four o'clock in the morning headed by an old man who carried a large horn lantern, and who, after a tune had been played at the vicarage and at various other accustomed halting places, used to call out "Past four o clock and a cloudy, or starlight morning, I wish 'e a merry fair". The day after the fair these musicians used to go to certain houses to amuse the visitors who remained with their melodies, for which they were rewarded with a plentiful supply of the 'Fair tap'."

This modern receipt uses entirely ordinary soft paste...

Original Receipt in Traditional English Cooking published by Angus and Robertson Ltd. recorded by Ella Marshall in the 'Deddington News', November 1976

Short crust pastry:
4oz. mixed lard and butter
4 tablespoons cold water
1/2 lb flour

To make filling, heat 1 1/2 cups milk (3/4 pint), add 2 rounded tablespoons caster sugar. Mix 3 level tablespoons ground rice and 1 teaspoon salt with 3 tablespoons water. Stir this into the warm milk. Cook and keep stirring until it thickens. Continue cooking "pudden" mixture for further 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat two eggs in a bowl and stir into rice mixture. Flavour with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence. Roll out pastry and line greased saucers with the pastry. Cover pastry with jam or desiccated coconut, then pour gently a little of "pudden" mixture over. Bake 20 mins. in medium oven (325F) until pastry is cooked underneath. Remove from oven and if liked dust very lightly with ground cinnamon. Nowadays these could be made in an 8" flan about 2" deep. Serve hot or cold.

See also:
Carrot Pudding-Pie
Deddington Pudden Pie
Folkestone Pudding Pie
Ground Rice Pudding Pie
Lent Tart or Kentish Pudding Pie

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