What Is Marmalade Pudding?

Glyn Sinclair

Marmalade pudding is a dessert made from the skin and juice of citrus fruits. The ingredients in marmalade pudding are evenly distributed throughout a sponge-cake and the final product is typically moist and golden in color. The pudding is often topped with cream or custard infused with Drambuie, a type of whiskey. Marmalade is a fruit preserve, or jam, and is produced when fruit juice and skins are boiled in sugar-sweetened water until reduced and soft. Marmalade pudding can be easily frozen and reheated at a later time.

Marmalade pudding is often infused with Drambuie, a type of whiskey.
Marmalade pudding is often infused with Drambuie, a type of whiskey.

Oranges are most often used in making marmalade, but a number of other fruits can be used as well, including lemons, grapefruits and mandarins. The Seville orange, from Spain, is prized for its high pectin content which aids the marmalade mixture to set and is preferred over other types of oranges. This particular orange does have a slightly bitter flavor, however, and is an acquired taste. The marmalade used in marmalade pudding can be purchased or made at home. It can be purchased with or without the slivers and chunks of fruit peel still in the jar.

Making marmalade pudding can take up to two hours and requires steaming for much of this time. An oven-safe container is lightly smeared with butter or greaseproof paper, and a thin layer of marmalade is poured into the base. Oranges, butter, sugar, eggs and flour are then placed in a food processor and mixed until creamy in consistency. The mixture is poured into the container and securely covered with a thick layer of greaseproof paper. The container is then placed over a pan of boiling water and steamed.

Preserves have been around, in one form or another, for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used to cook quince with honey because the mixture had the ability to harden and set once cooled. It is unknown whether any dessert resembling marmalade pudding was on the menu, but the Romans did use the Greek technique to create a type of marmalade called defrutum. This concoction was also used to preserve food, and some Roman women actually used it as a cosmetic.

Marmalade was once thought to be an aphrodisiac and was given to Queen Mary in the misguided notion that it would help her give birth to a son. Sherlock Holmes was also said to have regularly ingested marmalade in the hope that it would amplify the effects of certain hallucinogenic drugs. Marmalade pudding has no such claims, but this to sticky confection can easily be found in stores across the globe.

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