Cabot cabinet pudding

Many years ago, Cabot Court Hotel, now owned by Wetherspoons, was an actual hotel and I worked there, first as a chamber maid, then as a waitress in the restaurant. There was a great chef who I think was called Pete and the food, which we saw being prepared in the kitchens was good; after service we could have a meal of anything left over, and my favourite was cabinet pudding… I now cannot even remember what it was like except it was made in dariole moulds and was delicious. I was reminded of this today when I met some dear friends visiting from Spain and we had drinks in the Cabot.

I further thought of cabinet puddings when I was watching the latest series of Masterchef tonight… much as I love cooking I would be hopeless, too muddled, too absent-minded, and not enough skills which even amateurs seem to have these days… but also I’m not a great dessert maker… but if I had to make a dessert, maybe i could make cabinet pudding! I mentioned yesterday that another friend gave me some cookery books, wonderful old cookery books, and in one,The Anglice Café Cookery Book by M.A.Feilden, from the early 1920’s, I found this recipe:


  • 3 sponge buns
  • 4 macaroon biscuits
  • 1 oz ratafia biscuits
  • 1½ oz sugar
  • ½ pint milk
  • ¼ pint cream
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • glacé cherries and angelica
  • butter
  1. butter a plain round mould and decorate with fruits
  2. arrange slices of sponge with the macaroons and ratafias in the mould
  3. dissolve the sugar in the milk and pour onto eggs (the recipe doesn’t say mix thoroughly, but I’m sure you should until it thickens) and add the sherry
  4. strain into the mould, cover with greaseproof paper and steam for 1 hour
  5. stand fr a couple of minutes then turn out and serve with German sauce

…Spot the mistakes in this recipe!!! Is the cream used to make the custard? Is the cream served with the pudding? What is German sauce – there is no recipe for German sauce in the book! Oh Mrs Feilden who wrote the book, you have let us down! I must resort to Eliza Acton who gives this recipe for German sauce:

  1. dissolve an ounce and a half of sugar broken small in two glasses of sherry or any other white wine
  2. stir them when they are quite hot to the beaten yolks of three fresh eggs
  3. then stir the saucepan held high above the fire until it resembles custard, but by no means allow it to boil or it will instantly curdle
  4. pour it over the pudding or if preferred send it to table in a tureen
  5. we think a full teaspoon of lemon juice added to the wine an improvement to this sauce which is excellent



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