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This is based on the Sussex Pond Pudding, a traditional British dessert. It's called a pudding but it's really a small, rich pie. For a traditional British "pudding", use suet instead of butter in the crust and omit the spices from the filling.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and salt together in a large bowl, and work in 1 stick butter with your fingers, or pulse the above ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Add just enough milk to bring the dough together. Roll the dough out to a circle large enough to fit into a large oven-safe cereal bowl. Cut 1/4 of the circle out, leaving a pac-man shape. Place the cut circle into the bowl, pressing it to fit and pressing the cut edges together so there are no holes. Trim the top leaving 1 inch of overhang. Roll the cut-out slice, and any other scraps, into a circle of dough big enough to cover the top of the bowl.
Roll the whole lemon on the countertop to release the juices, then prick it all over with a fork. Mix the spices and sugar and remaining 4 ounces cubed butter. Place half the mixture in the crust, add the lemon, and top with the other half of the sugar/butter mix. Cover with the top crust. Brush the overhang of the bottom crust with milk and press to seal onto the top crust.
Cut a large circle of parchment paper and cover the bowl. Tie it in place with some kitchen twine leaving a little head room for steam to expand. Place covered bowl in a large, deep saucepan and pour in boiling water to halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, checking from time to time and replenishing water as needed.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pot. Remove the baking paper and string and run a knife around the edge of the pie. Place a deep rimmed plate or shallow bowl on top and invert it. Spoon into 4 bowls and serve warm, plain or with vanilla ice cream.
Meyer lemons are great for this recipe, but any lemon will work. Make sure it's well-washed and doesn't have any wax on the rind. Seedless varieties are best. Can substitute seedless tangerines for a sweeter pie.
This recipe was provided by John Serdeni from Walnut Creek.