steak and kidney pudding or pie which counts as a British national dish, does not have a long history.
Beefsteak puddings (but without kidney) were known in the 18th century, if not before; Hannah glasse (1747) gives a recipe, making clear that this was a suet pudding. A hundred years later, Eliza acton (1845) gave a recipe for ‘Ruth Pinch’s Beefsteak Pudding’, named for a character in Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit and rather more extravagant than what she called ‘Small Beef-Steak Pudding’. Neither had kidney. Shortly afterwards, however, Mrs beeton (1861) did give a recipe for steak and kidney pudding, and this has kept a foothold in the British repertoire ever since. It was, however, overtaken in popularity by steak and kidney pie, which was easier to make. The filling for the pie is cooked separately, so that one can tell when the meat is tender, impossible in a sealed pudding. Only then is the meat put into a pie dish and the crust set over it. Then the pie is briefly baked to brown the pastry.