Traditional British Puddings (2023)

Traditional British puddings include boiled and steamed desserts, trifles, rice puddings, plus other tasty desserts! I've gathered the best recipes from Bread and Butter Pudding and Christmas Pudding to Jam Roly Poly and Sticky Toffee Pudding. I'll also explain just what exactly a British pudding is!

Traditional British Puddings (1)

There are so many different types of traditional British pudding and there isn't exactly a firm rule about what constitutes a 'pudding'.

It gets even more confusing because in Britain, the word pudding is often used to mean dessert.

But I'm going to focus on traditional British puddings.

I've gathered the best ones together, from old school classics such as Summer Pudding to trifles, crumbles, and the interestingly named Spotted Dick.

You'll love these English puddings, many of which are specific to different regions.

Jump to:
  • What is pudding?
  • Platinum Pudding Competition
  • Popular Puddings
  • Recipes
  • 💬 Comments

What is pudding?

But first, let's clarify. What is pudding?

In the United States, a pudding is a flavored creamy, cold, set dessert, similar to custard.

In Britain, pudding is often used as another word for dessert, to mean any sweet course after a savory meal.

However, there is also a category of desserts called pudding.

Traditional British puddings are usually steamed, baked or boiled desserts, such as Christmas Pudding, Spotted Dick, or Summer Pudding. They're a bit like cake that is steamed so they're very moist, take the shape of the bowl or basin they are cooked in and have a 'close' texture - very unlike traditional fluffy cake.

Part of the texture also comes from the wide use of suet in puddings. It's a type of grated hard beef fat, but vegetarian versions are widely available and often used instead.

Puddings can also include cold desserts, such as trifle, or baked topped fruit, such as apple crumble, as well as rice pudding and bread and butter pudding.

Puddings can also refer to savory dishes (such as black pudding, Yorkshire pudding and pease pudding), but for this post, we're sticking to sweet.

There isn't a firm rule about what constitutes an English pudding! My kids tend to call it 'tasty hot slop in a bowl'!

What is the dictionary definition of a British or English pudding? "A baked or steamed sponge or suet dish, usually sweet and served as a dessert, but also savoury suet puddings (e.g. steak and kidney). Also milk puddings, made by baking rice, semolina, or sago in milk." - Bender & Bender, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition.

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Platinum Pudding Competition

2022 marks Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne. To celebrate, there is a year of Platinum Jubilee events, including the Platinum Pudding Competition.

Fortnum & Mason, the upmarket London England department store founded in 1707, is asking anyone over the age of 8 to submit a pudding recipe fit for the Queen, but 4 February.

The winner, judged by celebrity chefs including Dame Mary Berry, will be served to Her Majesty as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations!

Is your creation good enough? The proof is in the pudding! (sorry, groan).

Popular Puddings

Puddings can be broken down into a few basic categories: steamed or boiled puddings, bread puddings and jellies + milk puddings.

Steamed or Boiled Puddings

Steamed or boiled puddings are usually cooked in a basin/bowl or elaborate fluted basin. The moist puddings then take the shape of the dish it's baked in.

Examples:

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a date and caramel cake that lives up to its sticky name. The rich cake is traditionally steamed but often baked instead.

Jam Roly Poly is an old-school classic that's similar to Swiss roll. A large suet-rich thin cake is spread with jam and rolled up into a swirl.

Spotted Dick is a bizarrely-named steamed suet cake full of currants/raisins. It's usually served warm with lashings of hot custard.

Other examples are Christmas Pudding, Figgy Pudding, Plum Pudding, and Self Saucing Chocolate Pudding.

Bread Puddings

Traditional puddings are often made of leftover or stale bread, usually with a sauce or custard.

Bread and Butter Pudding has slices or cubes of bread baked in custard, often flavored with spices or dried fruit.

Summer Pudding consists of slices of bread around the edge of a pudding basin/bowl. It's then filled with fruit, which seeps through the bread giving it a vibrant color and fruity taste.

Other examples include Bread Pudding, Queen of Puddings (which has a breadcrumb custard), and Apple Charlotte.

Jellies and Milk Puddings

From trifles to rice pudding, there are plenty of desserts that are gelatine and/or milk-based.

Rice pudding is a milky dish of sweet baked rice. It can have add-ins such as vanilla, raisins or spices. It's served on its own or with custard or fruit compote.

Eton Mess is one of the cold puddings. It's made of crumbled meringues in a glass with fruit and whipped cream.

Other examples include Blancmange, Syllabub, Fruit Fools, and Possett.

Recipes

Here are the best English pudding recipes and British pudding recipes!

I hope you'll try them out. Let me know how you get on with them in the comments.

Traditional British Puddings

Traditional British pudding recipes include boiled and steamed desserts, trifles, rice puddings, plus other tasty desserts! I've gathered the best recipes from Bread and Butter Pudding and Christmas Pudding to Jam Roly Poly and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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Queen of Puddings

Queen of Puddings is a traditional British dessert that consists of a baked, breadcrumb-thickened custard topped with raspberry jam and a crown of fluffy meringue.

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Photo Credit:www.kitchensanctuary.com

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Fluffy treacle and date sponge topped with a lusciously rich toffee sauce. A classic British dessert.

(Video) What Makes This Spotted Dick So Good? A Classic British Steamed Pudding With Vanilla Custard

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Photo Credit:www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk

Jam roly-poly

Jam Roly Poly is an old-school classic pudding. It's made of a thin suet pastry, filled with jam, rolled up, and steamed. Perfect drizzled with warm custard.

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Photo Credit:www.bbcgoodfood.com

Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick is a traditional suet sponge pudding with citrus zest and currants. Serve warm with hot custard

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Bakewell Tart

This classic British dessert brings together the flavors of almond and raspberry. The pastry has layers of almond frangipane and raspberry.

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Vegan Rice Pudding

This vegan version of the classic Rice Pudding is comfort food at its finest. The milky dish of soft rice is delicious. Serve with custard or fruit compote.

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Photo Credit:www.bbcgoodfood.com

Eton mess

Eton Mess is a summery classic, with layers of crushed meringue, fluffy whipped cream, and fruit, all served in a glass.

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Photo Credit:recipes.sainsburys.co.uk

Sussex Pond Pudding Recipe

Sussex pond pudding is a traditional English pudding from the southern county of Sussex. The pudding is made of a suet pastry with butter and sugar, and a whole lemon inside, that is boiled or steamed.

(Video) How to make a Traditional BRITISH Pudding Spotted Dick | Comforting & Decadent English Dessert

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Cavolo Nero Christmas Pudding

This is my twist on the classic Christmas Pudding (aka figgy pudding or plum pudding). It's a traditional steamed pudding, full of dried fruit.

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Yorkshire Parkin

Yorkshire Parkin is a sticky oat ginger cake with a lovely dense texture. It's best if left for a few days before serving, so it gets extra sticky.

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Photo Credit:somethingsweetsomethingsavoury.com

Golden Syrup Sponge

Slow cooker golden syrup sponge pudding is an easy and delicious pudding. Also known as treacle sponge, this light and fluffy steamed sponge cake is covered in golden syrup and slow-cooked.

A classic old fashioned British baked custard pudding with macaroni. This frugal dessert dates back to the 1800s.

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Photo Credit:tinandthyme.uk

Snowdon Pudding

Snowdon Pudding is an old-fashioned steamed suet pudding from North Wales, that is flavored with lemon zest and marmalade.

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Photo Credit:whatagirleats.com

Summer Pudding

This beautiful summer pudding is a classic and delicious berry-filled dessert made in a bowl lined with slices of bread.

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Photo Credit:www.thespruceeats.com

(Video) The Queen's Christmas Pudding - Classic Holiday Dessert - Food Wishes

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is a sticky, moist and dense sponge cake, similar to fruitcake. It's a mix of dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, and citrus zests, and it's soaked in brandy or other alcohol.

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Photo Credit:www.fabfood4all.co.uk

Eve's Pudding

Eve’s Puddingis a British classic made of layers of stewed apples, topped with vanilla sponge cake. It's the ultimate comfort food. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream!

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Photo Credit:www.irishamericanmom.com

No-Bake Banoffee Pie

Banoffee pie was first created in England in 1971. It has now become a firm favorite all over the British Isles, and beyond. IBanoffee pie has a biscuit or cookie crumb crust, filled with caramel and sliced bananas, then opped with freshly whipped cream.

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Photo Credit:www.slowcookerclub.com

Slow Cooker Treacle Sponge

You'll love this British dessert of Treacle Sponge, made in the slow cooker. Soft sponge cake with a treacle sauce.

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Photo Credit:www.simplyrecipes.com

Tapioca Pudding

Make this comforting milky pudding in just 30 minutes, with tapioca pearls, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Syllabub is an Old English dessert made with whipped cream, sherry, white wine or other alcohol, plus sugar and citrus (lemon or other citrus).

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Photo Credit:www.marthastewart.com

Blancmange

Like a large pannacotta, Blancmange is a comforting, milky gelatin pudding.

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Photo Credit:www.supergoldenbakes.com

Melt-in-the-middle Chocolate Pudding

(Video) Classic 🇬🇧 British Bread & Butter Pudding — UK|English traditional bread and butter dessert recipe.

You'll love the saucy middle of this melt-in-the-middle Chocolate Pudding. Plus, it's quick and easy to prepare. Steam the pudding in your slow cooker or a pot on the stovetop, and serve with chocolate sauce.

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Photo Credit:www.jamieoliver.com

Apple Crumble

Make this classic apple crumble, then serve with custard or ice cream!

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Photo Credit:www.tasteofhome.com

Strawberry Trifle

This classic Strawberry Trifle has layers of sponge cake, custard, whipped cream and berries.

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Photo Credit:www.olivemagazine.com

Lemon Self Saucing Pudding (Lemon surprise pudding)

When it cooks, the batter of this dish separates into a sponge cake with its own zesty lemon sauce!

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Photo Credit:hedgecombers.com

Traditional Figgy Pudding

Make this traditional figgy pudding! It's a steamed pudding with suet, figs and warming spices.

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Photo Credit:www.bbcgoodfood.com

Clootie Dumpling

Clootie Dumpling is a traditional steamed Scottish pudding. It's made with dried fruit and warming spices. It's popular on Burns night and served with custard or ice cream.

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Apple and Pumpkin Crumble

Serve this dish of pumpkin and apples baked under an oaty spiced crumble topping.

(Video) Sticky Toffee Pudding – Nigella: At My Table | Christmas – BBC TWO

FAQs

What is the most popular British pudding? ›

Bread and butter pudding

The fact that good old bread and butter pud still appears a go-to dessert proves that classic British puddings will always have a place in our hearts.

What is a traditional English dessert? ›

A traditional English trifle is made with sponge cake, custard, jelly, whipped cream and berries. This stunning-yet-simple dessert has been a favorite of the Brits for over 300 years. Just make sure you don't accidentally combine an English trifle recipe with a shepherd's pie just Rachel did on Friends!

What kind of pudding do they eat in England? ›

The more traditional and well known home-made puddings are apple or rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding, spotted dick and trifle. The traditional accompaniment is custard, known as crème anglaise (English sauce) to the French.

What is the oldest British dessert? ›

Bread & Butter Pudding

As one of the oldest recorded British desserts dating back to the early 1700s, bread and butter pudding was featured in The Compleat Housewife cookery book by Eliza Smith.

What is an English pudding? ›

What is the dictionary definition of a British or English pudding? "A baked or steamed sponge or suet dish, usually sweet and served as a dessert, but also savoury suet puddings (e.g. steak and kidney).

What is the UK's Favourite Christmas dessert? ›

Mince Pies

There are plenty of other traditional Christmas sweets to try, and mince pies are often considered the UK's favorite Christmas dessert.

What is England's Favourite dessert? ›

STICKY toffee pudding is the nation's favourite dessert, a poll has found. Nearly half of the 1,500 adults surveyed picked the British-invented rich sponge treat as the best. Second place went to a French pastry — the chocolate eclair. But another British innovation — the apple crumble — came a very close third.

What is the most popular baked good in England? ›

Victoria Sponge took the crown, followed by Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Fudge Cake in joint second.
...
The UK's top 10 favourite bakes.
Ranking​Bake​No of votes​
1​Victoria Sponge16%
2​Chocolate Brownies/Chocolate Fudge CakeBoth 12%
3​Chocolate Chip Cookie11%
4​Lemon Drizzle Cake10%
4 more rows
12 May 2021

What is the most popular cake in the UK? ›

Britain's favourite cakes
  • Cheesecake.
  • Chocolate cake.
  • Victoria sponge.
  • Lemon drizzle cake.
  • Doughnuts.
  • Carrot cake.
  • Chocolate fudge cake.
  • Brownies.
27 May 2022

What do Brits call biscuits and gravy? ›

British People Try Biscuits And Gravy - YouTube

Why is it called a Yorkshire pudding? ›

The prefix “Yorkshire” was first used within a publication by Hannah Glasse in 1747, in “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple”. This distinguished the light and crispy nature of the batter puddings made in this region from batter puddings created in other parts of England.

What do Brits call biscuits? ›

Scone (UK) / Biscuit (US)

These are the crumbly cakes that British people call scones, which you eat with butter, jam, sometimes clotted cream and always a cup of tea.

What is a London dessert? ›

From super-duper freakshakes and croissant-donut hybrids, to bubblewaffles and ice cream filled macaroons, these are the best London desserts. I remember when going out for a mid-afternoon sweet treat was about choosing between a red velvet or a chocolate cupcake.

What do people in London eat for dessert? ›

I'm sure you won't regret giving them a try.
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding. The absolute dream dessert for anyone with an ultra sweet tooth, Sticky Toffee Pudding is about as traditional as it gets. ...
  • Fruit Crumble. ...
  • Trifle. ...
  • Eton Mess. ...
  • Bread and Butter Pudding. ...
  • Where to try them. ...
  • Have a favorite British dessert?
18 Jun 2013

Why are Pontefract cakes called? ›

Pontefract cakes (also known as Pomfret cakes and Pomfrey cakes) are a type of small, roughly circular black sweet measuring approximately 3/4" (2 cm) wide and 1/5" (4mm) thick, made of liquorice, originally manufactured in the Yorkshire town of Pontefract, England.

What is London pudding? ›

(For using up stale buns) Cut the buns in two, and spread with a little jam; make into sandwiches. Lay at the bottom of a pie-dish and sprinkle with a little grated suet; then beat up two eggs with one dessertspoonful of sugar and three-quarters of a pint of milk.

Why do the British call everything pudding? ›

If someone refers simply to English they're referring to the original language as spoken in the British isles. Pudding is a word that describes the sweet course of a meal, or a dish such as meat pudding, rice pudding, suet pudding etc. And then there is the one that all the Brits are ignoring on the grounds of taste.

What are the types of pudding? ›

This is best served with dollops of vanilla ice cream.
  • Bread and Butter Pudding.
  • Danish Apple Pudding.
  • Orange Pudding.
  • Lemon Pudding.
  • Gooey Chocolate Pudding.
  • Yogurt Crunch Pudding.
  • Dairy-Free Mango Pudding.
  • Vanilla Pudding.
8 Jan 2019

What is the traditional dessert in England on December? ›

Christmas pudding is sweet dried-fruit pudding traditionally served as part of Christmas dinner in Britain and other countries to which the tradition has been exported.

What is a traditional English Christmas dinner? ›

Beyond turkey, traditional British Christmas food usually consists of stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and parsnips. What is this? Redcurrant jelly, Yorkshire pudding, pigs in blankets, and other sides and condiments figure in as well.

Is pudding popular in England? ›

If there's one thing us Brits like, it's a pudding. Whether that comes with custard, ice cream or cream, or is simply a Penguin bar after dinner – most people in the UK will have something sweet at the end of their meal.

Do Brits eat pudding? ›

Still-warm fruit crumbles, milky rice puddings, jam tarts—a meal from our English nanny never ended without one of these classic British puddings. That word, while it can mean either sweet or savory in Britain, is used in the U.K. the way “dessert” is in America.

Is custard a British thing? ›

Custard (US) is a lot of things, but one thing it isn't is Custard (UK). Whilst British custard is prepared in a pan on a stove and is a hot pouring sauce, American custard can be baked in the oven or even frozen! There are myriad variants which seem to differ around the country.

What is the Queen's Favourite cake? ›

Favourite afternoon treat 'by far'

Little less known was her love of chocolate biscuit cake, typically returning to nibble on it until the entire cake was finished,​ according to Chef Darren McGrady, her former personal chef.

What are cupcakes called in England? ›

A cupcake (also British English: fairy cake; Hiberno-English: bun) is a small cake designed to serve one person, which may be baked in a small thin paper or aluminum cup.

What do they call cake in England? ›

As I understand it, "sponge" is British-English (slang?) for any kind of cake, whether the cake in question is technically a sponge cake or not. I've also watched a lot of Bake Off, and you rarely even hear them use the word "cake"-- everything is "sponge."

What do British people call scones? ›

A Biscuit (U.S.) Is a Scone (U.K.)

Both baked goodies use flour, fat, liquid and a leavening agent.

What do British people call a zucchini? ›

Zucchini or Courgette

The U.S. term, zucchini, comes from the Italian zucchina, which has zucca as its root, meaning, "gourd, marrow, pumpkin or squash." Conversely, courgette is another French word that the U.K. borrowed. However, if a courgette grows to full maturity, then the vegetable becomes known as a marrow.

How do British say eggplant? ›

Similarly, an eggplant is called an aubergine in the UK. The American yam is not commonly found in the UK, yet the term is often used in the US to refer to what the British call a sweet potato; the Brits eat theirs roasted (as they do most things) and have not yet warmed to the American dish of “marshmallow yams.”

What is Yorkshire pudding called in America? ›

The popover is an American version of Yorkshire pudding and similar batter puddings made in England since the 17th century, The oldest known reference to popovers dates to 1850.

What do Brits call popovers? ›

Yorkshire pudding is made from a batter of eggs, flour, milk and salt and is similar to a popover in its texture and flavor. It is served as a side dish and is quite versatile in how it can be served.

Do Americans eat Yorkshire pudding? ›

Let's get the cold, hard facts out of the way: the US does not have yorkshire pudding. Grocery stores don't stock Aunt Bessie's between the frozen peas, ice cream and mozzarella sticks. Home goods stores don't carry tins to make yorkshire pudding in alongside cake molds and pie pans.

What do Brits call sandwiches? ›

In England, a sandwich is called a butty! Add some British food slang to your vocabulary that will impress English folk and confuse your American friends.

What do British call boots? ›

*Watch out!* A boot can also describe a shoe and a trunk can also describe an elephant's nose!
...
How much British English do you know?
British English (Br)American English (Am)
bill (restaurant)rubber boots / rain boots
boot (car)French fries
pocket moneycheck
7 more rows

What do Brits call the trunk of a car? ›

In British English, the boot of a car is the covered space, usually at the back, where you put things such as luggage or shopping. Is the boot open? In American English, this part of a car is called the trunk. We put our bags in the trunk.

Is pudding popular in England? ›

If there's one thing us Brits like, it's a pudding. Whether that comes with custard, ice cream or cream, or is simply a Penguin bar after dinner – most people in the UK will have something sweet at the end of their meal.

What is the most popular baked good in England? ›

Victoria Sponge took the crown, followed by Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Fudge Cake in joint second.
...
The UK's top 10 favourite bakes.
Ranking​Bake​No of votes​
1​Victoria Sponge16%
2​Chocolate Brownies/Chocolate Fudge CakeBoth 12%
3​Chocolate Chip Cookie11%
4​Lemon Drizzle Cake10%
4 more rows
12 May 2021

What is school pudding in England? ›

The word 'pudding' is more commonly used to describe sweet, milk-based desserts in America. There are two British school puddings that fit that description! One is the traditional British Rice Pudding! Probably one of the easiest desserts you'll ever make, this milky, creamy dish makes a fab breakfast too.

What is British pudding called in America? ›

But a pudding can also be a specific dish — and a British pudding still isn't the same as an American one. American puddings are closer to what the Brits would call "custard."

Is pudding a posh or dessert? ›

Using "dessert" is thought to be posher than a homely pudding. Yet, in upper-class circles (or among those who aspire to be) you rarely hear the word "dessert" used.

Why is it called Yorkshire pudding? ›

The prefix “Yorkshire” was first used within a publication by Hannah Glasse in 1747, in “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple”. This distinguished the light and crispy nature of the batter puddings made in this region from batter puddings created in other parts of England.

What is the most British cake? ›

The victoria sponge is perhaps the most British of cakes – a timeless classic and a crowd-pleaser that never fails to delight.

What is the most popular cake in the UK? ›

Britain's favourite cakes
  • Cheesecake.
  • Chocolate cake.
  • Victoria sponge.
  • Lemon drizzle cake.
  • Doughnuts.
  • Carrot cake.
  • Chocolate fudge cake.
  • Brownies.
27 May 2022

What is the oldest dessert in the world? ›

Ashure (Noah's Pudding) is thought to be the oldest dessert in the world, first made by Noah after his fabled landfall at Mt Ararat. It is a delightful mix of dried fruit, nuts, grains and beans (yes, beans!) made in Turkey and all over the Middle East. Give it a try - you'll be glad you did!

What is the difference between a pudding and a dessert? ›

To make it simple, the clearest difference between a pudding and a dessert is that, a dessert is sweet, but a pudding can be both sweet and savoury, it is usually used to describe a particular type of food or sweet. Dessert could be fruits, that you use fork and knife to cut. You only use spoon for pudding.

What ingredients are in a British Christmas pudding? ›

Unlike American puddings, a Christmas pudding is a dark, sticky, and dense sponge, more like a fruitcake, made of mixed dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, and citrus zests. Brandy and spices provide a deep, complex flavor and signature dark color.
...
Ingredients.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
4gProtein
3 more rows
19 Jul 2022

What were school dinners like in the 1950's? ›

For around the 50% of children who stayed school dinners in the 1950s, it was the main meal of the day. Whether you remember them fondly or not, nutritionally these were balanced meals: a main course of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates, with puddings either made with milk or served with milky custard.

Videos

1. Sticky Toffee Pudding | Classic British Pudding | Baking With Hayley
(Baking With Hayley)
2. OLD-FASHIONED RICE PUDDING | Retro British School Dinners | Easy Dessert #ricepudding #britishrecipe
(Susu's Cookbook)
3. Crispy!chewy!British 300 year old yorkshire pudding! make it at night and bake in the morning
(STEER iT)
4. Gordon Ramsay's Yorkshire Pudding Recipe
(Gordon Ramsay)
5. Traditional Bread Pudding | Bread Pudding Recipe | Bread Pudding Recipe UK
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6. Old School Bread Pudding | Traditional Recipe :)
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