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Recipe: Iron Duke's Field Pudding

The Iron Duke, as every British schoolchild knows, was Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington. The Duke led the British army to victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

It isn't easy to feed a large army in a foreign land. Some supplies were brought from England in the wagon train, others had to be procured locally from a potentially hostile local population. While enlisted men survived on pork, beans and hardtack, officers dined in style.

Nonetheless, army cooks had to improvise often using simple ingredients that could be prepared in the field using very basic cooking facilities. At the same time, officers' mess meals had to be fit for a gentleman's table.

This recipe is an adaptation of a traditional British recipe that meets those conditions precisely. It uses simple ingredients, can be prepared in minutes and is definitely worthy of an English gentleman's table. Blighty's Britfood Tips dedicates this recipe to one of Britain's greatest soldiers - the Iron Duke.

  • One large stale cake
  • 1 cup of sherry
  • 2 cups of custard
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 shot of brandy

  • Break the cake into small pieces, thoroughly mix with the sherry until the sherry has been absorbed by the cake
  • Press the sherry soaked cake into individual serving bowls
  • Mix the jam and brandy together and pour over the cake
  • Pour a layer of custard on top of the jam
  • Top with a knob of Devon Double Cream
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving

John's Notes
At first, I thought this was just another trifle. But then I remembered a previous recipe on this blog in which we established that, although there are many different ways to make trifle, all of them contain fruit. There is no fruit in this dessert.

This is a dessert that could easily have graced the Iron Duke's field table. It took me no more than ten minutes to prepare and my family thought it was "brilliant" as they say in England.

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