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Perhaps the best [English sweet] I ever ate, which served as a kind of psychological bridge, was at Simpson's on the Strand, in 1935 or '36. It came as the summation of all such puddings and led me gracefully from childhood hunger to maturity. —M.F.K. Fisher
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Duke of Cambridge Pudding

M.F.K. Fisher, An Alphabet for Gourmets - September 11th, 2013

Excerpted from An Alphabet For Gourmets by M.F.K. Fisher.

A suaver pudding, still very, very British indeed, is my version of a recipe served at the famous Hind's Head, which I have found versatile and apparently pleasing to less limited palates than mine. It seems more like a tart than a pudding to my American mind, just as the North Country Tart is more like a pie or a pudding.

DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE PUDDING

  • short pastry
  • 1 cup chopped candied or heavily preserved fruits
  • Brandy, enough to moisten fruit (kirsch is good with cherries)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 or 3 egg yolks, depending on size

Line 9-inch baking plate (pie pan!) with crust, making a good, firm, pinched rim. Soak fruit in liquore about an hour, so as to be soft but not mushy. Melt butter in double boiler; add sugar, mix well, stir in egg yolks, and stir gently until thickened. Lightly drain fruit, spread over crust, and pour the cream over it. Bake in hot (425º) oven until the top browns and crinkles. Serve hot or cold.

Of course nothing could ever be quite as good as Aunt Gwen's Muds and Sponges, but as I look back over the spiritual recording of these English sweets, I suddenly feel that perhaps the best one I ever ate, which served as a kind of psychological bridge, was at Simpson's on the Strand, in 1935 or '36. It came as the summation of all such puddings and led me gracefully from childhood hunger to maturity. It came in the springtime after a long, dour London winter, the kind in which I was photographed on Easter Sunday, without my knowing, battling my way across Hyde Park in a whirl of enormous snowflakes. "Visiting Yankee Feels at Home in Unseasonable Blizzard" was one of the newspaper captions. And lunch at Simpson's was a daily ritual, a kind of amiable stoking of my over-worked human furnace.

I ate happily through a monumental cut off the joint, with its accompanying "two vegs.," and then a "winter salad," composed largely of pickled beets as I remember, and then, ah, then, came the plum tart, hot, bathed in a flood of Cornish cream, steaming and flowing in the ample plate! How rich it was, how sweet and revivifying to my cold and enervated and above all young body! How its steam and savor engulfed and comforted me!

Yes, that was the best pudding of my whole pudding life, and Aunt Gwen would understand my betrayal of al others for it, even her Christmas Bun, when we could play Snap around it with raisins burning in the holiday bath of rum.