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Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 4 hours

Serves 4-6

When you first look at this recipe, with a whole fruit in the middle of the pudding, it’s hard to believe it’s going to work. I thought exactly that when putting my British regional food book together, in which this recipe starred. But the lemon serves two purposes: it holds up the pudding while allowing the flavour to filter via the buttery sauce into the pastry as it cooks. When you turn it out, the pudding collapses and a pond of delicious sweet lemony syrup flows out. Heaven. You will need a one-litre pudding basin, some string and foil.


– 250g self-raising flour,

plus extra for dusting

– 125g shredded beef

suet or vegetable suet

– 150ml semi-skimmed

or whole milk

– 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

– 200g soft light-brown


– 1 large unwaxed lemon


Mix the flour and suet together in a bowl. Add the milk little by little, mixing as you go, to form a dough. The dough should be soft but sufficient­ly firm to roll out (on a lightly floured surface) into a circle about ½cm thick and large enough to line the pudding basin.

Cut a quarter out of the circle, so that you can make a cone shape with the rest of the dough to fit more easily in the pudding basin. Set aside the dough slice you have removed.

Butter the pudding basin well and drop the pastry ‘circle’ into it, flattening it at the bottom and joining up the edges where the slice was taken out.

Mix the butter and sugar together and put this mixture into the lined basin.

Prick the lemon all over many times with a skewer so that the juices can escape, then push it into the butter mixture.

Remould the remaining pastry piece and roll it out into a circle to fit the top of the pudding basin. Lay it over the filling and press the edges of the dough together so that the filling is sealed in.

Cut a piece of foil large enough to fit over the basin with at least a 5cm overhang. Make a pleat a couple of centimetre­s wide down the middle of the foil, place it over the top of the basin and fold the overhang over the edges, tying it in place with string round the lip, creating a handle so it can be lifted in and out of a saucepan.

Bring a large pan half-filled with water to the boil and lower in the pudding; the water should come halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover and leave to simmer for four hours. Don’t let the water stop simmering, and if the level drops, lift up the basin and top up the pan with more boiling water. Alternativ­ely you can do this in a pressure cooker in half the time.

To serve, lift out the basin, remove the foil and loosen the sides of the pudding with a small sharp knife. Put a deep dish over the basin and quickly turn the whole thing upside down. The pudding should drop out. Serve with thick cream.

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