It’s the fasting period of Lent at the moment; I have friends who are doing it for a religious reason, and others are doing it as a useful time to eat less , or drink less alcohol, or abstain from chocolates and sweets, and I was wondering if there are any special English Lenten recipes. I can find plenty from other countries, but apart from pancakes at the beginning and Simnel cake on Mothering Sunday, I can’t find much else.

However I did come across references for Kent tart or pie and Folkestone pudding which actually seem to be pretty similar from the recipes I have seen. The pie tart or pudding seems rather rich and delicious for a period of fasting, pastry made with butter, spices eggs and sugar in the filling as well as dried fruit… maybe the originally recipes were plainer, with lard instead of butter, and just rice and milk and a few odds and ends of dried fruit.

Here is a recipe which sounds fairly simple and delicious:

  • shortcrust or enriched pastry, enough to line a pie dish (some recipes call for puff pastry, but I think that would go a bit soggy!) chilled in the fridge and then baked blind as a tart case for the  rice pudding
  • 1¾ pints  milk
  • zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • pinch of nutmeg and vanilla essence or paste, I know it’s not traditional but I would add some ground cardamom too!
  • 10 oz pudding rice
  • 2 oz butter
  • 5 oz castor sugar
  • 7 oz raisins or currants or sultanas, soaked overnight in sweet sherry or for as long as you like but so they are plump and juicy – or if you’ve given up alcohol for Lent, soak them in tea – and I guess if you like Earl Grey that would be nice
  1. make a rice pudding with all the ingredients except the soaked fruit; heat the milk, add the flavourings and the rice, when it is soft add the butter last when the rice is cooked
  2. strain the raisins and put in the pastry case (this is what the recipe says, but I think I would stir the fruit into the rice once it was off the heat)
  3. add the rice pudding mixture and let it cool

My featured picture is of violets growing in Kent

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