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Duck and Damson Pudding Recipe

A marvellous, old fashioned but delicious, pudding that's worth trying when damsons are in season in the late summer. Sloe gin is stocked by many large supermarkets.

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Equipment: 4 individual pie dishes, each capable of holding 300ml/½ a pint.

For 4 plus individual puddings - depending on size:

For the filling -

1 * 2.25 kilo/5lb oven ready Aylesbury-type Duck
- 50g/2oz Butter
- 1 medium Carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick Celery, washed, and chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) roughly-crushed Black Peppercorns
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of dried Basil (not normally recommended, but adding its own character), or ½ teaspoon dried
- Marjoram
- 50ml/2 fl oz Sloe Gin
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) Tomato Purée
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) Flour
- 300ml/ ½ pint Chicken stock
- 225g/8oz Damsons, stoned, and cut in half

For the Pastry top -

- 25g/1oz Suet
- 110g/4oz Self-Raising Flour (or plain flour with 1 rounded teaspoon [6ml] Baking powder
- about 30ml/1 fl oz Water
- a pinch of Salt
- 1 Egg, mixed with a little water, and lightly mixed.


- Roast the duck for 90 minutes at 200°/400°/Gas 6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove, an thick pieces of fat, but leave a little on.

- Remove the meat from the bones and dice into big, bit-sized, pieces. Keeping the bones.

- Melt the butter in a big and heavy pan, over a medium heat.

- Add the reserved duck bones, the breast section cut into smaller pieces if possible; add the chopped vegetables, peppercorns and herbs.

- Cook stirring for 5 minutes.

- Add the sloe gin, followed by the tomato purée and flour, and mix well in.

- Slowly add the stock, stirring continuously, until well mixed.

- Simmer, very slowly, for 30 minutes, pushing the duck bones under the liquid, to extract as much flavour as possible.

- Lay out half the damson halves on the base of each bowl, then share out the duck pieces to cover them. Cover with the remaining damsons.

- Share the sauce out between the bowls.

- To make the pastry - sift the flour into a bowl, and add the suet; mix thoroughly. Add just enough water to make an elastic dough. Knead with the fingertips, then rest on a plate in the fridge for10-15 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface until about 5mm/¼ins thick. Brush the outside edges of the bowls with a little egg so the pastry sticks. Then glaze the tops with the remaining egg wash.

- Cover with the suet pastry, brush with egg wash, and cook in a pre-heated oven, 220°C/425°/Gas 7, for 40 minutes.

- Serve.

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