A retired pharmaceutical and industrial chemist, author and historian specialising in military events.
Both the pie and pudding are unusual dishes eaten widely in London, particularly east and south. They date back many decades and it’s out of the ordinary combination of ingredients could be varied to take account of what you had left in the larder. Give it a try, most people are pleasantly surprised and it is an authentic taste of pre-war and 1950s London. There is a vegetarian version of London Pudding and another based on scraps, to complete the meal.
1lb minced beef or trimmings from the butcher and home minced.
1 large onion, peeled and grated
1 coarsely chopped cooking apple (you could use an eating apple but they tend to break up)
1 tablespoon sultanas or stoned raisins
1/8 pint stock (beef or vegetable or use a cube)
2lb potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1 dessertspoon curry powder
Fresh tomatoes cut in half
Mix the meat together with the curry powder, onion, apple, sultanas and stock and put into a square oven-proof dish. Spoon or pipe the mashed potato on top in squares like a chessboard. -In the spaces left between the squares, put a half tomato cut side upwards and cook for 1 hour at 375 degrees F.
Very often London Pudding was the dessert to follow a meal of home-made soup and London Pie. This is even older and dates from the Great War
This first recipe is a vegetarian (not vegan) version.
2 oz. of Allinson steamed cooked oats (or Quaker quick oats)
1 large tablespoonful of granulated sugar,
½ pint of whole milk, or reconsituded powdered milk.
1 oz of unsalted butter
1 pint of custard made from Allinson or Birds custard powder (or if in a hurry you could use tinned custard.)
Boil the milk gently with the oats, butter, sugar, for 15 minutes, then pour into a pie-dish and add to the mixture 1 pint of pre-made custard, stir carefully, and bake for 1 ½ or 2 hours; let it stand for a short time before serving.
Note: A word on cooking time. This recipe was designed for cooking on an old-fashioned range where temperatures could not be pre-set. I think it may need some experimentation and would suggest starting at perhaps 350deg F.
This second recipe is not vegetarian but is a wartime one using stale buns.
Stale buns/cakes or stale bread buttered with choice of jam or marmalade.
Raspberry or Strawberry jam (home-made or one with a setting problem is good)
1½oz grated suet or vegetarian suet to turn the dish into suitable for vegetarian.
2 large free-range eggs (or powered whole egg)
1 dessertspoon granulated sugar (or whatever you have surplus)
¾ pint whole milk (or dried milk reconstituted)
Cut the buns in half (or cakes) and spread with a little jam; make into sandwiches and lay at the bottom of a pie-dish and sprinkle with a little-grated suet. beat up two eggs with one dessertspoonful of sugar and three-quarters of a pint of milk. Pour over the buns and bake in a moderate oven. (325-350deg F)
This third recipe, although called a pudding includes pastry which, strictly speaking, makes it a tart.
Ready-made puff pastry
¼ lb. of Apricot Jam, (or your choice of jam)
7 Sponge Finger biscuits,
½ tablespoonful of plain Flour,
1 oz. of unsalted Butter,
½pint of whole Milk, (or dried milk reconsituted)
1 unwaxed Lemon,
2 large free-range eggs (or whole egg powder)
Granulated sugar or whatever is available.
Line a greased pudding-dish with puff pasty and spread on a thick layer of apricot jam, then a layer of sponge biscuits.
Mix together a ½ tablespoonful of flour and 1 oz. of butter in a saucepan, boil ½pint of milk and pour it on the flour and butter. Add sugar to taste and the grated zest of a lemon. Stir over the heat till as thick as cream, then cool a little and add the beaten yolks of two eggs and beat all well together. Then pour on the cakes.
Beat the whites to a stiff froth and spread over the pudding. Bake for at least ½hour in a moderate oven.(375deg F) making sure you do not burn the meringue top. Put in fridge or on a cold shelf and serve cold.
- Jellied Eels and other methods of cooking
Jellied Eels are a delicacy of the East End of London and have been eaten for centuries. They are eaten cold with a chilli dipping sauce and are a rather acquired taste.
Liverpool Tart or Liverpool Judy
- Liverpool Tart or Liverpool Judy
This tart is one in a series of local foods from wartime or 1950s. Liverpool Tart and Liverpool Judy are very similar and both are still eaten widely in the area.
Nelson Squares - a cake from scraps
- Nelson Squares - A recipe for a delicious wartime cake made from scraps.
Following the war cakes were very much a luxury and various methods of producing something from nothing were tried. Some were delicious and this recipe for Nelson Squares is one
Gypsy Tart from Kent
- Gypsy Tart - A local Kentish recipe for a cheap but delicious sweet sticky tart from 1950s England.
Gypsy tart is perculiar to the county of Kent and is a very sweet tart made at a time when foods were still on ration in the UK? It is easy to make and delicious - however it is a dentist dream.
Manchester Tart or Manchester Pudding
- Manchester Tart or Pudding - War-time to date
This was a tart which was a great favorite in the Manchester area. It started life back in the 1800s when it was called a pudding but because pastry was used became known as a tart.
Mrs Geekie's Home Made Soups
- Mrs Geekie's Homemade Soups
There is nothing like a delicious home made soup that has no artificial ingredients or additives. Try the following two recipes and taste soups like they used to be.
© 2013 Peter Geekie
Peter Geekie (author) from Sittingbourne on May 12, 2013:
Thank you for your kind comments and I'm glad you like the idea of London pie. It's strange, isn't it, that I live in London yet like Malay and Asian foods.
kind regards Peter
peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 11, 2013:
Yummy London pie. We don't have such pie in Malaysia. Good thing that I found your hub. Could whip up some pies for afternoon tea time. Great with hot beverages. Thanks for sharing and voted up