Duke Pudding ~ A Wartime Recipe

I have long been fascinated by wartime home economics. I have quite a collection of books and materials on the subject including some fabulous facsimile editions of wartime cookery books.



The photo below shows my grandmother's and my dad's ration books issued in October 1939 just a few weeks after war was declared. They were kept carefully by a family friend in almost pristine condition.


In June 2007 I put the whole family on wartime rations for a fortnight. You can read all about it here (I'm Thriftlady). I cheated slightly with regard to margarine and by having a fridge and a freezer but otherwise we stuck to our rations. The children who were 7, 10 and 11 at the time didn't notice anything different about their food except that they got sweets which was not a normal occurrence. June was of course a good time to do the experiment because there was plenty of summer fruit around and nice salady stuff.

As someone who was used to cooking from scratch I found it quite easy to manage on the rations and I enjoyed using my imagination to come up with interesting meals. During the experiment I spent very little and even lost a bit of weight. Maybe I'll do it again one day.

Duke pudding was one of the recipes I used during our time on rations. It's from Marguerite Patten's We'll Eat Again. I make it quite often because it so easy, incredibly frugal and really tasty. For a pudding I think it is pretty healthy. Practically all you need are some bits of old bread and a carrot.


Take 2 cups of breadcrumbs (about 6 oz) I used the crusts and a bit of leftover toast shown above. Soak them in water for a few minutes and then squeeze them dry with your hands or by tipping into a sieve and pressing with your hands. Put the bread in a bowl. Beat all the lumps out with a fork.


Add 2 tablespoons of very soft fat or margarine (I used butter), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of any dried fruit, a grated carrot and a teaspoon of mixed spice. Mix well.



Mix 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with about a couple tablespoons of milk or water. Blend into the bread mixture and then pour into a greased shallow baking dish.



Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 30 minutes at 180°c (160°c fan).
Nice with custard.




Duke pudding is surprisingly light and delicious. This recipe doesn't make a huge amount but it is quite easy to increase quantities.

Variations
Although I haven't tried it I can see no reason why some grated or chopped apple would not work mixed in with the other ingredients. Sliced banana would be good too although not very wartime. Cocoa powder is another addition worth considering. I may try a mincemeat version near Christmas.

Comments

  1. Sounds delicious I must make this soon.

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  2. I must admit I was drawn in when I watched Housewife 49 and read the books by Nella Last. I think some people must have eaten some strange concoctions during the war years, but that pud sounds rather good. I will give it a try.

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    1. Now there was a resourceful cook. Nella Last made some delicious sounding meals from her rations and she was a canny shopper too. Must reread her.

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  3. I will definitely give this a go. :)

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  4. My father is always full of tales of what they ate during the war. The one that always gets my boys is chewing the wax rind of cheese in lieu of the gum that was all the rage with the American soldiers.
    Your recipe sounds far tastier than cheese wax.

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  5. This looks super. In true Margeurite Patten tradition, I always put a grated carrot in my Christmas pudding mix to 'stretch' it.

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  6. This looks lovely and very frugal too! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Looks good - could also use courgette instead of carrot though again not very wartime! Must try your recipe out. I think we were meant to be healthier when on rations than ever before and certainly since though I guess it was a bit dull eating the same old stuff all the time. We've become spoiled for choice these days. Am off to read all about it on your blog.

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    1. Yes, or beetroot -v.wartime.

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  8. I love that necessity is the mother of invention Sue and I should imagine that this was the case for many inventive, simple delicious recipes during wartime rations. Thanks for sharing this great recipe as a nice and easy winter warmer.

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  9. Like the look of the pud. Love the idea of rationing. What a daring thought...

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  10. I loved seeing the ration books. How interesting to put your family on wartime rations a few years ago. The best part was that they didn't notice! I'm definitely going to try out Duke Pudding. I think a grated apple would be an excellent addition.
    I like your shots of the different stages of the pudding, especially the last one!

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  11. I've heard of Queens Pudding but never this. What a great way of using up old bread and toast. Thanks for the idea.

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  12. So glad Nella Last has been mentioned.I have just finished reading her diaries written during the war and in the early fifties,not only was she a resourceful cook but had to cope with a very difficult marriage.

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  13. Anonymous7:19 pm GMT


    Lovely to see your collection of books I too am fascinated by wartime home economics ,I have some of the same books as you but will now have to look out for the others . I look forward to reading about your fortnight on war time rations .

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  14. Unusual pudding. Must try it. Thank you for the recipe.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  15. I have been looking longingly at your heap of books on the subject, and am off to track down 'The Ministry of Food'. My parents grew up in Ireland, where we had rationing without a war, and I would like to be able to hold my own more strongly in the egg-preservation and egg-substitution conversations.

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    1. Mise, thank you for that -I have often wondered what the situation in Ireland during the war was.

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  16. I have three saved crusts in the cupboard- I must have known not to chuck them in the freezer earlier...
    But I am more excited to see that your granny shares her name with SmallerBean! Was she a creative, funny, warm and slightly bonkers character? I do hope so.
    Ax

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  17. Doh! How did I never realise you were Thriftlady?! Fascinated by wartime stuff myself, and keep meaning to try out some of the recipes, Marguerite Patten's stuff is fantastic!

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    1. I'm not really Thriftlady anymore -the blog has supplanted her!

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  18. The warm fireplace11:27 pm GMT

    I also have a great interest in wartime cookery, rations, i have often thought it would be interesting to just use the rations and see what it was like having to eat as they did then, i will read what you did.
    sue

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  19. Anonymous9:50 am GMT

    The address on your ration books brought back memories! I lived literally just around the corner from there when I first started teaching in 1974 and used to have friends living in Fountains Road. I taught history in big comprehensive school then and we spent a lot of time talking about rationing and trying out recipes etc.
    Pam

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    1. Oh do tell which school Pam. I grew up in Harborne but visited that address often as a child and later lived with my husband just off Portland Road and had to drive down Fountains Road to work.

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  20. Bonnie in PA2:36 pm GMT

    All these cheerful comments prompt me to present another side of the story. In the 1970's my husband worked with a lovely woman from Great Britain. She suffered from a disease, whose name I can't remember, and she attributed it to not having enough protein or even enough - period - to eat when she was a child during the war years. She is gone now, but I think her memories would equate rationing with suffering.

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    1. There may well have been those who did go hungry, or who had underlying health problems which may not have been recognised, but the rations were designed so that everyone, in particular children and pregnant women got enough protein and other nutrients. At the outbreak of the First World War it was discovered that many men were simply not fit enough to fight. The wartime diet was partly designed redress that and we were a healthier nation in 1954 when rationing finally ended. Much of the current British population lived through it including my parents and the parents of everyone else of my generation and I've never heard any of them complain of malnourishment, monotony perhaps but not starvation.

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    2. The Ministry of Food provided reams of information, guidance and advice about how best to use both your rations and those foods which were not rationed. I have a facsimile of a leaflet giving advice on how to ffed your children and it's advice that holds true today. A free hot dinner was provided for all school children as was free milk.

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  21. I find all this completely fascinating. Thank you.

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  22. jenny gordon6:42 pm GMT

    Hi I really enjoy yur blog and have just made this pud and all my family enjoyed very much! Thank you! x

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  23. So it's like bread pudding? I adore bread pudding even though a friend of our's insists on calling it "dustman's wedding cake". Will be giving this a go.

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    1. Carol, yes it is similar to bread pudding but much lighter. You couldn't cut it into chunks and put in a lunch box like you can with bread pud.

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  24. I can certainly give this a go. Carrots and bread? Even if I don't enjoy it, the look on Mr Coffee's face will be reward enough.

    I've been away for a while - physically and mentally - but it's so good to get back to your blog, Sue.

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    1. It's a lot more delicious than it sounds Coffee Lady.

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  25. Made this yesterday, which helped reduce my breadcrumb mountain considerably! It's like a cross between bread pudding and carrot cake. I hadn't made custard but half way through serving it up, we realised that as per your suggestion, it was crying out for custard so made some to go with the second helpings! Quote from husband, "This is the best!"

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    1. Excellent news, glad you liked it! I didn't have enough milk for custard but we scoffed it up anyway.

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  26. My Mum, Anne, was always an accomplished cook and had several favourite recipes she used during the war, when rationing was in force and substitute ingredients had to be used.

    Some of her many favourites were Oat Biscuits, Mock Cream and Brighton Sandwich. She also had a tip for making Mock Marzipan paste for Christmas cakes.

    Take a look at my war diary web site to read more:
    http://www.fightingthrough.co.uk/#/wartime-recipes/4550736195

    Thanks
    Paul

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    1. Thanks Paul I will certainly have a look at your interesting site.

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  27. My Mother used to make Dustmans Wedding cake and you ate it in slices, not really like a pudding as it was more cake like. Would love to know if anyone had that recipe. I think it would be similar to this though. I might just try and see if i can replicate Mums recipe. :)

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