Thursday, January 28, 2010

Duff Paste.

Yesterday we considered something which I daresay is no longer a regular part of anyone’s diet – huff paste or huff crust. Today, the rhyming poet in me could not resist bringing to your attention another lost pastry product – the intriguingly named duff paste.

The Oxford English Dictionary was mysteriously silent on the subject of huff paste, but it is very enlightening on today’s topic. Put simply, it says that ‘duff’ was originally ‘a northern pronunciation’ of ‘dough’. For an amusing insight into English language pronunciation, try saying ‘through enough rough dough’, and you will appreciate the difficulties faced by those non-native speakers who are trying to get to grips with its illogical convolutions.

By the mid-nineteenth century, ‘duff’ came to refer specifically to a boiled pudding or dumpling made from a very basic dough (paste) – hence the well-known ‘plum duff’ or plum pudding.

Plain Plum Duff.
1 quart flour,
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder,
2 tablespoonsful sugar,
1 lb seeded raisins
¾ lb suet (or see below)
Venison suet, chopped fine, or the fat of salt pork minced up, will serve. Marrow is better than either. Mix the dry ingredients intimately. Then make up with half a pint of water. Put this into a cloth bag prepared as in the preceding recipe (). Since suet puddings swell considerably, the bag must be large enough to allow for this. Place in enough boiling water to cover, and do not let it check boiling until done (about two hours). Add boiling water as required to keep the bag covered. Turn the bag upside down when pudding begins to set, or the fruit will go all to the bottom; turn it round now and then to prevent it scorching against the sides of pot. When done, manipulate it like cottage pudding. Serve with sweet sauce.
A richer duff can be made by spicing and adding molasses, or the rind and juice of a lemon.
[Camp Cookery, Horace Kephart, 1910]

Question: any ideas as to what is meant by “manipulate it like cottage pudding”?

Quotation for the Day.

“Make a remark,” said the Red Queen’ “it is ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.


Lara said...

I love this direction:"Mix the dry ingredients intimately"--what a delightful way of phrasing it.

The Old Foodie said...

I loved it too - I should collect all of those lovely old-fashioned instruction phrases.

Anonymous said...

What, no cottage pudding expert to enlighten us?

I don't think I knew till now that plum pudding was made with raisins, not plums.

The Old Foodie said...

I too am intrigued by the manipulation of the cottage pudding - yet another blog topic, if I can unravel the mystery, or at least make an outrageous guess.