College Pudding

We have been lucky over a period of three years to be able to attend several “formal hall” dinners at Cambridge University. All very Harry Potter. Dark, candlelight halls with long refectory tables and, it has to be said, and awful lot of noise.

My Official Taster especially enjoys these events because he gets “pudding”. There is rivalry amongst the colleges as to who has the best puddings and arguments about where they originated. Apparently, opinion is widely held that those in the more modern colleges have far better food to make up for the lack of impressive architecture of the dining hall!

Rumour has it that one of the poorer colleges only serves yogurt for dessert!

This pudding originated in the 1600s in the halls of Cambridge colleges and is thought to be the forerunner of Christmas Pudding. This is a lighter version than would have been served hundreds of years ago, when the pudding would have been made with suet in order to fill the stomachs of the starving students.

Ingredients - makes 4 puddings

4½oz (120g) fresh breadcrumbs ½ teaspoon ground cloves
4½oz (120g) raisins 3oz (75g) butter
½ teaspoon baking powder 2oz (50g) caster sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon 1 large egg
½ teaspoon nutmeg 6 tablespoon milk


  1. Grease four college pudding moulds (mini pudding basins).
  2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, raisins, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat and add to the mixture along with the egg and milk.
  4. Spoon into the moulds/tins and stand them on a baking sheet.
  5. Heat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and bake the puddings for approx 35 mins or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the pudding.


College Pudding