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Medieval Fruit Pudding

by Admin Edatachase

There are very few I crave consistently, but this is one of them. I make it at least once a month. There is no way to describe the texture to you. It’s smooth and ‘creamy’ and kind of like a cross between a jelly and a custard... maybe like a panna cotta…? It’s really nice, but I can’t really think of a modern equivalent.

This recipe is adapted from Chireseye, recipe XVIII in The Forme of Cury, a recipe book from the Court of King Richard II. I’ll leave the original recipe down below for nerd points, but very basically, it’s a cherry and red wine dessert, thickened with breadcrumbs. It’s incredibly easy to make, very quick and very cheap!

It’s one of those desserts that is easy enough that you can whip it up as a mid-week treat, or make for a fancy dinner party and it would be equally appropriate. Seriously, people think you’re really cool when you tell them they’re having a 600+ year old recipe fit for a king.

Onto the adaptation and reasons behind it: I wanted to stick to the original when I first started making the recipe about 5 years ago. The cherry tree in our garden is laden every year with wonderful looking cherries. Wonderful looking, I say? Yes, because every year it keeps getting raided by a greedy little blackbird, who lies in wait and just as they’re ready to pick, he stares me straight in the eye and eats every. last. one. in a single sitting.

Every year. 

Other birds try and get a look in and he chases them off. Even magpies!

He sits there for two weeks before and just challenges me to a race, which he knows I have no chance of winning. Mrs Blackbird (they’ve been a couple for years and are a very entertaining duo, who have dates in the dog-rose tree, where they take it in turns swinging the branches for each other) always has to come and find that her partner has eaten so many cherries in one sitting, he turns completely round… and then gets drunk as they all ferment in his gut… then has a hangover for two days afterwards. Have you ever seen a blackbird with a hangover? It’s a mess, every year.

Anyway, with no access to the cherries that are rightfully mine, I went to the shops to get some cherry juice and the result was absolutely spectacular.

But, cherry juice is quite expensive, which I could not justify as a regular occurrence (as this recipe deserves) so I decided to figure out some substitutions. Plum and red wine was very decadent. Orange and white wine went down very well (orange and red wine at Christmas is very good). That was a favourite for a while, but I did want to figure out what to do with apple juice, since apples is what we usually have in.

Please feel free to judge me, but the first time I tried it, I stuck too close to the recipe and did it with white wine. Big mistake. Huge. The entire thing came out too acidic and the flavour of the fruit was lost entirely. It even put me off this dessert for a whole 2 months.

Then I remembered that I am an idiot and made it with cider instead. Gamechanger, obviously. The flavours balance out perfectly and it is now my go to.

Nothing more to say. On to the recipe.

Original recipe

Tak Chiryes at the Fest of Seynt John the Baptist and do away the stonys grynd hem in a morter and after frot hem wel in a seve so that the Jus be wel comyn owt and do than in a pot and do ther'in feyr gres or Boter and bred of wastrel ymyid [1] and of sugur a god party and a porcioun of wyn and wan it is wel ysodyn and ydressyd in Dyschis stik ther'in clowis of Gilofr' and strew ther'on sugur.


Take Cherries at the time of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist (24 June), stone them, grind them up and sieve them, so that you are just left with the juice and add them to a pot with butter or grease and breadcrumbs and a good amount of sugar and wine and when it is well cooked serve it in dishes and stick on cloves of gillyflowers and sprinkle with sugar.

Modern Adaptation

(makes 4 servings)

  • 360ml apple juice
  • 120 ml Cider
  • 100g (2 slices of bread with the crusts cut off) fine white breadcrumbs (brown bread makes a rougher, chewy texture)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 oz butter


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. When it is melted, stir in the cinnamon and sugar. As soon as it is combined, add in the breadcrumbs and stir it all together, like you would the base of a roux.
  2. Gradually add the juice and cider mix a little at a time, stirring between each mix.
  3. When all the juice is added, keep boiling on a high heat, stirring occasionally (stir more as it becomes more reduced). Keep boiling until the mixture is reduced and thickened to the point that you can see the bottom for a full second after stirring.
  4. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins and leave to cool completely.
  5. Optional: to decorate, garnish with thinly sliced apple and sprinkle with sugar (and spray with edible gold spray if you’re feeling extra fancy.

Note: The ratios of ingredients are 180ml juice, 60ml alcohol, 1oz butter and 1 slice of bread per 2 servings. The sugar and spices can be added to taste.

Serving Suggestion

Silly Cow Cider


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