Sussex pond pudding is so named because it has a large amount of butter in the middle which melts when the pudding is boiled, and soaks into the mixture. The original form of the pudding, as described in Ellis (1750), was made from flour, milk, eggs, and a little butter, so that it was a predecessor of the 19th-century sponge pudding. More butter entered the mixture as the ‘pond’ melted. It was not sweetened, and was eaten either with meat or by itself.
Later, a sweetened suet pudding mixture lightened with baking powder became usual, and there was a further curious innovation. A thin-skinned lemon was placed, whole, in the centre of the ‘pond’. It could be pricked all over so that the juice seeped out to flavour the mixture; but sometimes it was left unpierced, and exploded when boiled. This type of pudding was called ‘lemon bomb’.
A variant made over the county border, Kentish well pudding, contains dried fruit instead.
© the Estate of Alan Davidson 1999, 2006, 2014 © in the Editor’s contribution to the second and third editions, Oxford University Press 2006, 2014.