Sunday, January 12, 2014

Celebrating Downton Abbey with Manchester Pudding @Downtoncooks

LUCY BURDETTE: Since I know we have a good number of Downton Abbey addicts reading this blog, I asked our pal Pamela Foster if she would provide us a recipe in honor of the launch of the fourth season. You may remember her 2012 blog about tea time etiquette. So she kindly agreed and chose a Manchester pudding--just in time for you to whip up and enjoy during tonight's episode! Pamela's new ebook is called ABBEY COOKS ENTERTAIN--you can read more about it on her website, along with etiquette tips for a proper tea, and more! (And please note this is a Manchester pudding, not a tart as I had mistakenly called it earlier!)

PAMELA FOSTER: Season 4 of Downton Abbey has finally arrived to America after a long journey across from the UK.  Losing Matthew in the last minute of the S3 season finale was a terrible shock.  We had to wait until this past Sunday to actually grieve with the other characters.  

As we learned from Mrs. Patmore in the very first episode, food does help pass the time in these sad situations so I thought it

appropriate to share a tea favorite in remembrance of Matthew.   Manchester pudding comes from his home town of Manchester.
You may recall Manchester tarts which were quite popular in the 1950s.  They are a jam and custard tart with a coconut sprinkles and maraschino cherry on top.  The Manchester tart is based on manchester pudding from the Dowager’s era.  I have lightened up one of the earliest published versions brought to us in 1861 by the young Mrs. Beeton, my  favorite domestic diva of the Victorian Era: Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. She taught a generation of middle class housewives--like Matthew’s mother Isobel--how to run an efficient home.

Makes 1 large 9″ tart or 12 muffin sized tarts

    •    1 – 1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry*
    •    1 1/4 cup skim milk
    •    1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
    •    1/4 cup butter, softened
    •    2 strips of lemon peel
    •    4 eggs (4 yolks, but save 2 of the whites for another use)
    •    3 tbsp. brandy
    •    2 tbsp. sugar (or sugar substitute)
    •    1/2 cup quality jam- Brits love damson
    •    icing sugar, to dust


    1.    Preheat oven to 350F.
    2.    Heat milk and lemon zest in a medium-sized pan to the boiling point.  Take off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to infuse the lemon, then remove the zest.
    3.    Add the breadcrumbs to the pot, and reheat.
    4.    Beat together egg yolks, egg whites, butter, sugar and brandy in a bowl. Pour in about half the hot milk to temper. Mix thoroughly then pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat gently for 1 minute then take off the heat and set aside to cool.
    5.    Place the puff pastry in a 9″ pie plate, and trim.  Alternatively roll pastry out a little thinner and cut 12 circles and fit into muffin tins.
    6.    Put a thick layer of jam in the base (1 tsp. in your muffin cups) then ladle in the custard mix.  If you put in lots of jam you will get a nifty volcano effect at the end.
    7.    Bake the large tart for 60 minutes, the individual tarts for 45 or until filling has set and is slightly browned.
    8.    Serve cold, dusted with icing sugar.

*To cut the fat calories you can bake the pudding in individual greased ramekins without the pastry at all. To help the puddings set cooking, place your ramekins in pan filled with hot water

Lucy: Thank you so much for sharing this yummy recipe! Gang, Pamela has offered three free copies of her ebook, Downton Abbey Cooks, full of delicious recipes. Leave a comment telling us your favorite food moment from the series to be entered in the drawing! To order the book, click here.


  1. I do love Downton Abbey with all the beautiful food scenes—upstairs and downstairs. My very favorite is Carson to Mrs. Hughes who is holding an electric toaster she has just bought, "Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Mrs. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?”

  2. I have a new theory: Some women like food in the same mysterious way some men like cars...fascination at the ingredients, inspiration over the colors and the thrill of enjoying an adventurous creation.

    Not that I wouldn't mind eating a few of these Manchester tarts.

  3. This looks SO delicious, Pamela! And sort of inside out the way it's made... boiling the milk and adding lemon rinds first?! Needs a really good jam.

    So funny what Jack says about women and food and men and cars. And too true.

  4. After living in England I love all their food and have had most things I've seen om Abbey. It would be so hard to pick just one.

    I love puddings so I'll having say any pudding, my favorite are tarts (lemon :) )

    I'd love this cook book as I love to cook and there are recipes in it I'd love to try making

  5. Reine, I love that quote, too! Gorgeous book. Are the recipes hard? Are they in UK or US measures?

  6. Oh, how fun! Another cookbook for many of us to add to our collections. Thank you, Pamela.

    And I think Jack makes a very interesting point. I admit to picking up a cookbook and reading it in the same manner I might read a novel, and find it every bit as fascinating.

    And now I have a craving for a lemon tart.

  7. Manchester Tart! It's many years since I've eaten that. How yummy. I have to get your cookbook!

    Actually I attended a Downton Abbey party this week, everyone dressed in the 1920s, including my friend Dinah whose outfit was absolutely authentic. She's a collector of fabulous vintage clothes. Me--? I looked more like Mrs. Hughes on her day off. I had nothing remotely like the Twenties in Arizona.

  8. I had a completely different idea when I saw the title of this post. My bad.

  9. Oh, Jerry, that cracked me up.

    So many good food moments, especially in the kitchen with Daisy and Mrs. Patmore. But one of the first scenes of the former chauffeur having a meal with the family--where he tries to serve himself breakfast--was a pivotal moment in the show. It deftly and subtly revealed how his life had changed in so many ways, a clear line of demarcation in his status.

  10. Any meal with the Dowager and her marvelous, acerbic comments gets my vote!
    I agree with Jack's observation: I, too, read cookbooks rather like novels.

  11. Reine, I love the Mrs. Hughes quote, too.

    Pamela, the tart sounds yummy, and reminds me that I bought a box of Downton Abbey Mince Tarts before Christmas and have only eaten two (muffin tin size!) Wonder if can have one with tonight's episode?

  12. I thought the moment with Daisy and the electric mixer was hilarious. Not as funny as Carson using the telephone for the first time, though.

    An aside: My oven died the day after Thanksgiving. We had to order some part, which came in and was the wrong part, and the second order is...I have no idea. I haven't baked anything since Thanksgiving. I never dreamed we could survive this long.

  13. I love the kitchen scenes with Mrs. Patmore, her cooking and interaction with her assistants. The opening show for this new season was especially good, as Mrs. Patmore tried to learn how to use the blender in secret. The foods are a great part of the show.

    Oh, those tarts look so delicious, Pamela! Your cookbook must be full of such mouth-watering recipes. The cover is so elegant, too.

    I think my favorite food moment thus far in the show is when Violet says, "It's such a pity to waste a good pudding." Of course, I love Violet and her quips.

  14. Two favorite food moments come to mind; one funny the other bittersweet. I love the scene when Cora's mother tells the help to get all the food they can out of the larder and declares they are all going to have a picnic! (off topic - that part reminded me of the scene in The Hobbit when the Dwarves descend on Bilbo's kitchen). Another favorite food scene is when Mrs. Patmore cannot read the recipe for a special dessert that was requested and it becomes known that she (thinks) she is going blind. I had my book club for a British dinner when we read Innocent Traitor; I loved all of the authentic recipes I found on the web, so I would love to have this cookbook!

  15. You can buy Downton mince tarts? Where? I have made Rhys' but need to do it again. Something about that crust!! Double yum.

    I recently loaned my Nigella Christmas cookbook to a young friend. When she returned it, she said, "I didn't make anything but I read the whole book!"

    On the show I love the presentation of the food in the upstairs dining room. I am someone who can prepare a meal -- but I have no talent for table-settings and such.

  16. Remember when Mrs Patmore used salt instead of sugar in a pudding? All the desserts always look and sound yummy. Her secret session with the new mixer was classic.

  17. Mince tarts are so rich! Do you ever make minced meat with meat? I once read that it was a way to use leftover beef. Is that true?

  18. Thanks to all for sharing the foodie moments. Karen in Ohio, Cara Jones, and Ramona, please email me so you can get your copy of the cookbook!

    Lucyburdette at gmail dot com