Today is October 25, sixty-six days more to go, and yesterday was my last day of work. I thought that today – the start of my first week in 14 years without a pay check — it would be fun to make Half Pay Pudding from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. The recipe was contributed by Miss Scott of Galt.
I decided to make just half the recipe so the 1/4 pound became 2 ounces. I weighed the raisins and 2 ounces was 1/2 cup. The currants and bread crumbs were the same. Two ounces of suet made one cup. I didn’t need to chop mine as I bought suet already shredded. Suet is usually in the frozen meat section of a grocery store. Half a pound of flour was two cups. I mixed it all together and then added a tablespoon of treacle. I happened to have a can of Lyle’s Black Treacle in my cupboard so I used it but you can use molasses or even black strap molasses instead. I tried to mix this in but it was difficult. I added the 1/2 cup (1/4 pint) milk and again found it difficult to get the mixture to blend so I added a little more milk. I spooned the batter into the greased pudding mold and set it into a pot of water. I left it to boil for three hours checking on it every so often and adding more water when necessary.
I’m wondering if Miss Scott of Galt is Miss Jean Scott age 45 in the 1911 census. She lives in Galt on Davis Street with her widowed mother and even includes the Miss as part of her name in the census. Another possibility is Elizabeth A. Scott. She’s 27 and lives with her widowed father and two brothers at 36 Chapman in Galt. She is not employed but the men in the family are working at various occupations. Twenty-six year old Ella Scott lives with her parents at 10 Bruce Street. Maybe it’s 54-year-old Susan Scott who lives with her widowed mother a little further along the street at 12 Bruce Street.
I’m not sure if half pay pudding turned out as Miss Scott intended especially since I was also trying to cut the recipe in half. It tastes okay but the texture is a little strange since I wasn’t able to mix everything together well. If I make this another time I’ll mix the treacle and milk together and perhaps alternate some liquid and flour and liquid and flour to ensure it all blends. This is a heavy pudding — a stick to the ribs sort of pudding. I imagine the use of bread crumbs helps to make it cheaper since it is an otherwise wasted ingredient. You’ll notice that there are no eggs or leavening in the recipe. These days the long cooking time makes this a little more expensive but in 1906 the cook stove could be going all the time in the winter with something in the oven and the stove top in use for things like half pay pudding. I’m going to consider this pudding as an “experience” but I’m unlikely to try it again since I spent time picking out the raisins and eating them rather than the rest of my slice of pudding.
HALF PAY PUDDING
1/4 pound raisins, 1/4 pound currants, 1/4 pound suet, 1/4 pound bread crumbs, 1 pound flour, tablespoons treacle, 1/ pint of milk, chop the suet finely, mix it with the currants, raisins, flour, bread crumbs and treacle, moisten with the milk, beat up the ingredients until all are thoroughly mixed, put them into a buttered basin and boil or steam 3 1/2 hours. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.