Pudding is a generic term used to refer to a variety of soft and wet foods which may be sweet or savory depending upon the preparation. Originally, pudding, a French term, was used to denote small sausages of the Medieval European cuisines. Pudding recipes of the United States are mostly dessert dishes made with milk and/or egg. A number of American custards also fall under the category of puddings. Though quite a number of European puddings are dairy or starch based and sweet in taste, there are a number of savory puddings, like black pudding and steak and kidney pudding. Vanilla pudding, rice pudding, Christmas pudding, Yorkshire pudding, bread pudding, and chocolate pudding are a few pudding recipes that are popular across different cuisines of the world. Bakewell Pudding and Queen of Pudding, are on the contrary, not puddings in the true sense of the word.
Origin of Pudding Recipes:
Derived from the French word “boudin”, the ancestry of the pudding can be traced back to the sausages of the Medieval European times, when essentially anything cooked in a bag( animal intestines) in the olden times, was called pudding, be it sweet or savory. Black pudding, which is consumed even today in some European countries, represents the original version of the dish. It was only in the 20th century that the word pudding was formally used to address certain sweet dishes of the European and American cuisines.
Ingredients Used in the preparation of Pudding Recipes:
Pudding is made using different types of ingredients based on the recipe. The American puddings, which are basically sweet, are made using milk, bread, rice and eggs as basic ingredients. The sweet puddings of the European countries are made using starch or dairy products as bases, while the savory puddings are made with meat as the base. Apart from the basic base ingredients, flour, cereal, cornstarch, gelatin, suet, tapioca, flavoring and coloring agents, fruit, nuts, chocolate and cream are the other ingredients that are used in pudding preparations.
Method of Preparation of Pudding Recipes:
A pudding may be prepared in a number of ways which include baking, steaming or boiling. Many baked and steamed puddings are a dessert course, while boiled puddings can also be served as main course dishes as exemplified by the serving to the members of the Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th which depended on the pudding thus prepared, with flour and suet, as a staple. Dessert puddings, which are a relatively modern invention, are prepared by simmering the ingredients together on a low flame till they thicken to the desired consistency. They are cooked in a sauce pan, or a double boiler, a microwave oven, or in a baine marie in an oven.
Serving and Eating Puddings:
A pudding is served either hot or chilled. A dessert version is often served chilled with a dessert sauce topping, fresh fruits or with icing. Savory puddings may also be served with savory sauces or accompaniment dishes. Savory puddings may also be paired with wine. For example, a savory sweet potato version may be served with pickles.
Popular Pudding Recipes:
The American, European and other cuisines of the world have their own traditional puddings which are discussed as below:
• Christmas Pudding- also called a plum duff; this is a festive traditional English dessert that is an important item of the Christmas dessert menu. Though made with cuisine specific ingredients, the basic ingredients such as dark sugar and black treacle make this dessert assume a dark color. Other ingredients like dark beers such as a porter or subdued stout, also add up to make this dessert pudding assume a dark color. Sweet spices and suet impart a luxurious texture and aroma to this dish. Brandy and citrus fruits also serve to enhance the flavor of this party dessert. Traditionally boiled, the modern pudding recipes of this dish are also prepared by steaming. Served with various kinds of butter like the brandy butter or rum butter and hard sauce, rum cream, lemon cream, or béchamel sauce, this dessert dish is one of the most mandatory items of the Christmas party menu and the castor sugar topping signifies the winter weather of falling snow on the mountain top.
• Yorkshire Pudding- originated in Yorkshire, England; this savory dish is made by baking a batter of flour, eggs, milk, butter and serving with roast beef and gravy.
• Blood Pudding- made of cattle blood and also known as black pudding the recipe for this savory European dish is one of the oldest pudding recipes prepared by coagulating blood and making sausages. It is prepared in a number of European cuisines.
• Suet Pudding- this is a savory dish made of hard fat round the kidneys and loins. The steak and kidney dish consists of diced lamb, beef or pork kidney pieces encased in a suet pastry and served with gravy.
• Creamy Pudding recipes - these include some of the sweet dessert puddings, which are dairy based. They have a soft and creamy textured and flavored with a wide variety of ingredients. Angel Delight, Bavarian Cream, Crème Caramel and Panna Cotta are some of the puddings that belong to this category. Pudding Recipes Variations Pudding variations, dishes that resemble the pudding but slightly different from them have also gained as much popularity as puddings themselves. Some of these are discussed below:
• Spoonbread- a savory cornmeal bread of the Southern United States, also known as cornmeal soufflé, is regarded as a pudding more than bread owing to its method of preparation, form, feel and texture.
• Kugel- this is a Yiddish savory pudding which is more like a pie, made of egg noodles or potato, and at times with other vegetables and also fruits like sweet potato, spinach, apple, spinach, and cranberry.
• Flan- this is a sweet or savory European pudding resembling an open-topped pie or a quiche. Though the sweet versions may have custard fillings, the savory versions are made of short curst pastry.
• Mousse- a type of savory or sweet French pudding which ranges from a soft and foamy to a creamy and thick texture. Both dessert and savory flans are served in a mold.