Churchill’s Infamous Pudding Recipe

by Chef Adel
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Churchill, a colossal figure in twentieth-century history, left behind a legacy that transcends political and military boundaries. Yet, amidst the chronicles of war and speeches that stirred nations lies a lesser-known facet of Churchill – his love for a particular pudding. Not just any pudding, but one that has been whispered about in historical corridors, carrying with it the charm of a bygone era and the personal touch of the British Bulldog himself.

We’re not just going to recreate Churchill’s infamous pudding recipe; we’re going to delve into the stories that make it legendary. From the ingredients that echo the simplicity and resilience of wartime Britain to the anecdotes of Churchill’s indulgent moments, this recipe is more than just a dessert—it’s a historical adventure on a plate.

How to make Churchill’s Infamous Pudding

Churchill’s Infamous Pudding refers to a dessert associated with Sir Winston Churchill, the renowned British Prime Minister. Legend has it that Churchill had a particularly strong liking for a certain type of dessert, which he would often request to be made. The pudding typically consisted of various ingredients such as dried fruit, nuts, spices, and often had a generous amount of alcohol, usually brandy or rum, which gave it a distinctive flavor. It’s said that Churchill enjoyed this dessert so much that he would have it served even during wartime rationing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread for best texture)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or rum
  • Custard or whipped cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Butter a 2-quart pudding basin or a deep baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest, raisins, and sultanas.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, sugar, and the vanilla bean (if using). Stir occasionally until the mixture just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean, scraping any additional seeds into the mixture.
  5. Slowly add the hot milk and cream mixture to the breadcrumb mixture, stirring constantly. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb the liquid.
  6. Stir in the beaten eggs and melted butter into the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring that it’s well combined. If using, stir in the brandy or rum.
  7. Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Place the dish in a larger baking pan and add hot water to the outer pan (a water bath), about halfway up the sides of the pudding dish.
  8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the pudding is set and the top is golden.
  9. Serve warm, topped with custard or a dollop of whipped cream for that extra indulgence.

Tips for Perfecting Churchill’s Pudding:

  • Bread Quality Matters: Use good-quality, day-old bread to make breadcrumbs. Freshly made breadcrumbs can make the pudding too dense.
  • Infusing Flavors: Infuse the milk and cream with the vanilla bean early to enhance the flavor. Allow it to simmer gently to avoid burning.
  • Water Bath: Baking the pudding in a water bath ensures even cooking and a creamy texture without burning the edges or bottom.
  • Aging the Pudding: While this pudding can be enjoyed immediately, letting it sit for a day in a cool place can deepen the flavors significantly.

What to serve with

Given the hearty and rich nature of Churchill’s Infamous Pudding, the accompaniments should balance, complement, and enhance its flavors and textures. Here’s a detailed guide to what to serve with your pudding to make your desert course stand out:

You Might Be Interested In

1. Custard

Classic Vanilla Custard: A silky, smooth vanilla custard is perhaps the most traditional and beloved accompaniment to British puddings. Its creamy texture and the subtle flavor of vanilla pair beautifully with the dense, fruity profile of the pudding.

Ingredients: Milk, cream, vanilla bean, egg yolks, and sugar.

Preparation: Gently heat milk and cream with the vanilla pod, then temper the egg yolks with the warm milk mixture and cook until thickened.

Serving Tip: Serve warm or slightly cooled for a comforting contrast.

2. Whipped Cream

Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream: For a lighter touch, whipped cream can provide a delicate, airy complement to the dense pudding, with its richness adding an extra layer of indulgence.

Ingredients: Heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

Preparation: Whip the cream with a mixer until soft peaks form, then add sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until desired consistency.

Serving Tip: Add a generous dollop on top of a warm slice of pudding; the cream will slightly melt, creating a delicious mix of textures.

3. Brandy or Rum Sauce

Warm Brandy or Rum Sauce: To intensify the flavors and add a luxurious touch, consider serving the pudding with warm brandy or rum sauce. This option is especially fitting if you’ve incorporated alcohol into the pudding.

Ingredients: Butter, sugar, cream, and brandy or rum.

Preparation: Melt butter and sugar together, add cream and liquor, and simmer until thickened.

Serving Tip: Drizzle over the pudding just before serving for an elegant presentation and a warm, boozy kick.

4. Fresh Berries or Fruit Compote

Fresh Berries or Seasonal Fruit Compote: The tartness and freshness of berries or a seasonal fruit compote can cut through the richness of the pudding, adding a refreshing contrast.

Ingredients for Compote: Seasonal fruits (like berries, rhubarb, or apples), sugar, and lemon juice.

Preparation: Simmer fruit with sugar and lemon juice until soft and syrupy.

Serving Tip: Serve the compote warm or at room temperature alongside or atop the pudding to introduce a vibrant, acidic note that balances the sweetness.

5. Ice Cream

A Scoop of Quality Ice Cream: A classic, yet always appreciated, serving ice cream with pudding offers both a temperature contrast and a creamy texture that can enhance the overall dessert experience.

Recommended Flavors: Vanilla bean for its universally appealing taste, rum raisin to echo the pudding’s flavors, or salted caramel for a modern twist.

Serving Tip: Choose a high-quality ice cream and serve a scoop alongside a warm piece of pudding for an enjoyable melding of cold and warm elements.

Ingredients Substitutes

Infamous Pudding

Creating Churchill’s Infamous Pudding can be adaptable based on dietary needs, allergies, or simply what you have on hand in your pantry. Here are some detailed ingredients substitutes you could use to recreate the pudding:

Breadcrumbs

Substitute: Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs or Almond Meal

Purpose: For gluten intolerance or celiac disease, choose gluten-free breadcrumbs or for a lower-carb, gluten-free alternative, almond meal can provide a similar texture.

Ratio: Use a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Milk

Substitute: Non-Dairy Milk (Almond, Soy, Oat, Coconut Milk)

Purpose: For lactose intolerance or vegan diets, non-dairy milk alternatives can be used, though the fat content will vary.

Ratio: Use a 1:1 substitution, but if using lower-fat milk alternatives, consider mixing with canned coconut cream for richness.

Cream

Substitute: Canned Coconut Cream or Soy Cream

Purpose: Vegan or dairy-free diets can be accommodated with these substitutes, which mimic the creamy texture and rich mouthfeel.

Ratio: Equal parts substitution.

Granulated Sugar

Substitute: Honey, Maple Syrup, or Coconut Sugar

Purpose: For a natural sweetener alternative, you can use honey or maple syrup; coconut sugar also provides a lower glycemic index option.

Ratio: For liquid sweeteners, use ¾ of the required sugar amount; for coconut sugar, use a 1:1 ratio.

Vanilla Bean

Substitute: Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste

Purpose: Vanilla extract or paste is more commonly available and economical while still providing the vanilla flavor.

Ratio: One vanilla bean is approximately equivalent to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.

Lemon Zest

Substitute: Orange Zest or Lemon Extract

Purpose: Orange zest can offer a similar citrus profile, while lemon extract is more concentrated in flavor.

Ratio: Use a 1:1 substitution for zest and a small amount of lemon extract to taste.

Raisins & Sultanas

Substitute: Dried Cranberries, Chopped Dates, or Dried Cherries

Purpose: To vary the fruit flavors or if these are what’s available.

Ratio: Use an equal quantity to replace raisins or sultanas.

Eggs

Substitute: Flaxseed Meal or Chia Seeds (for vegan) or Aqua Faba

Purpose: To replace eggs for vegans or those with egg allergies.

Ratio: Use 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal or chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water per egg, let sit until it forms a gel; or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg.

Butter

Substitute: Vegan Margarine or Coconut Oil

Purpose: For dairy-free or vegan options.

Ratio: Use a 1:1 substitution ratio.

Brandy or Rum

Substitute: Rum Extract or Fruit Juices (like apple or orange juice)

Purpose: For alcohol-free versions, especially if serving to children or those avoiding alcohol.

Ratio: Use rum extract to taste (start with ½ teaspoon and adjust) or replace the alcohol measure with juice.

Heavy Cream (for Serving)

Substitute: Whipped Coconut Cream or Cashew Cream

Purpose: Vegan, dairy-free topping choices that can replicate the texture and richness of whipped cream.

Ratio: Whip the substitute until the desired consistency is reached, similar to dairy whipped cream.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy the spirit of history and dig into this luxuriously comforting dessert that would have made Churchill nod in approval. Whether you’re gathering for a family dinner or indulging in a solo treat, Churchill’s Infamous Pudding is bound to be a conversation starter about the legendary leader and his infamous tastes.

More Pudding Recipes:

Churchill’s Infamous Pudding

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 143 calories 4.2 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread for best texture)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or rum
  • Custard or whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Butter a 2-quart pudding basin or a deep baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest, raisins, and sultanas.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, sugar, and the vanilla bean (if using). Stir occasionally until the mixture just starts to simmer. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean, scraping any additional seeds into the mixture.
  5. Slowly add the hot milk and cream mixture to the breadcrumb mixture, stirring constantly. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb the liquid.
  6. Stir in the beaten eggs and melted butter into the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring that it’s well combined. If using, stir in the brandy or rum.
  7. Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Place the dish in a larger baking pan and add hot water to the outer pan (a water bath), about halfway up the sides of the pudding dish.
  8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the pudding is set and the top is golden.
  9. Serve warm, topped with custard or a dollop of whipped cream for that extra indulgence.

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