Olde World Newfoundland Raspberry Pudding*

* with “New World” Screech Rum Sauce!

A few years ago one of our very favorite followers, Mil York, sent us an autographed copy of this remarkable cookbook, “For Maids Who Brew and Bake, Rare and Excellent Recipes from 17th Century Newfoundland,”  by Sheilah Roberts. (Second Edition!) Mil grew up in Newfoundland and she has a treasure trove of old family recipes that she shared with us along with this wonderful and unique cookbook. We couldn’t be more grateful! My plan was to make these recipes on board and share with our fellow Galley Pirates. And who better to serve this to than my in-laws from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. As I did, the first attempt was shoddy but editable….or friends and family were being polite! A year and a half and one “do-over” later, we finally have a presentable recipe…with historical facts and lessons learned…to share.

Raspberry Pudding**

Jump to Recipe

1 cup raspberries, gooseberries or blueberries
4 cups of dried bread crumbs (home made from stale bread, not the kind you buy in a can)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mace
A dash of salt

Lesson #1: “Bread Crumbs” from a recipe written in 1670 does NOT mean the fine grained bread crumbs resembling course sand that you buy at your local grocery store. We’re talking…take old stale bread and shred it by hand into tiny pieces. I learned this the hard way. 4 cups of store bought “bread crumbs” is about twice as much “breading” as you would need. Thank goodness I had twice as much cream and extra eggs on board that evening.

Preheat your galley oven to 400+º. Shred stale bread into crumbs to the equivalent of 4 cups.

Use bread crumbs that resemble the ones on the left, not the right!

You know a recipe is old-school when it starts out with “Scald the cream…” I doubt many millennials have ever scalded cream or even have any idea what it means. (Pro-tip: Scalding means bring the milk or cream almost to a boil, but don’t boil it. You’ll see the sides of the pan start to bubble a bit. That’s it. Take it off the heat.)

In a heavy sauce pan, or the only sauce pan you have on board, scald the cream and spices together. Add the brown sugar and bread crumbs and mix well. Take off the burner and mix in the beaten eggs. Gently fold in the raspberries.

If you want to add a bit of “new World Screech”, do so when you scald the cream. Or save the Screech for the rum sauce, following.

The old world recipe for puddings is to place the batter in a cloth bag and boil it, preferably in the same pot that you’re boiling the rest of your dinner. One pot cooking over a flame…sound familiar? The spirit and souls of Newfoundland cod fisherman are present in the hearts of all of us cruisers, whether we know it or not…aye matey?

Scoop the batter into a greased baking dish or loaf pan. Place in your preheated HOT oven for 50 minutes.

Here is the difference between using fine bread crumbs (left) and fresh hand-torn bread crumbs, right. The fine breadcrumbs is a little denser, the fresh large breadcrumbs is lighter and puffs up more.

Screech Rum Sauce

(For those of you who know Newfoundland, you more than likely know Screech. Back in the late 1700s there was a cod-rum trade deal going on between Newfoundland and the British West Indies. The Caribbeans got the cod, the Newfies got the rum. Not a bad trade for those northern islanders surrounded by ice bergs.) 

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick)  butter
3 tablespoons Screech Rum (or any amber rum)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 couple gratings of fresh nutmeg

Melt butter and brown sugar together. Add the rum and cook on low, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the cream and spices and continue to simmer on low for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. (this is the same recipe found in Cranberry Apple Pie with Rum Sauce) The longer you simmer the thicker the sauce will become. For a bread pudding you don’t want the sauce too thick as you want it to soak into the pudding.

** Some history here: This is an old recipe. A really old recipe originating from Hannah Woolley’s book The Queen-Like Closet, published in 1670. She had published more than one book on household management and is believed to be the first person to ever make her living by writing such books. In For Maids Who Brew and Bake, Sheilah Roberts writes Woolley’s exact recipe:

Take a quart of Cream and boil it with whole spice a while, then put in some grated Bread, and cover it off the Fire, that it may scald a little; then put in eight Eggs well beaten and sweeten it with Sugar then put in a pint or more of whole Raspberries. and so boil it in a Cloth, and take heed you do not boil it too much then, serve it with Wine, Butter and Sugar. You may sometimes leave out the Raspberries and put in Cowslip Flowers. or Gooseberries.

Olde World food stands the test of time. Some recipes just don’t need to evolve…they were good then, they’re still good now.

One thought on “Olde World Newfoundland Raspberry Pudding*

  1. Only G P, Caroline, could create a perfect presentation of the Olde and New.
    What class!
    Grandma would be so impressed. Cheers and gratitude.mcy.

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