Republican Pudding with Common Wine Sauce


Puddings were extremely important to eighteenth-century England and, therefore, to American colonists. In addition to sweets, all sorts of savory ingredients, including oysters, roast beef, and suet, found their way into puddings. During the Civil War, batter was still typically cooked the old traditional English way, wrapped in a buttered and floured “pudding cloth,” similar to a kitchen towel, and boiled for hours. Also, in this time of political upheaval, new dishes were often named for politicians and political parties, hence, “Republican Pudding,” named after the party of Lincoln.


Makes 4 servings. Recipe is adapted by Cynthia Nobles.


1 cup cooked rice

2 cups whole milk, divided

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, beaten

2 tbls. butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Common Wine Sauce (recipe follows)


1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, 1½ cups milk, sugar, and salt. Simmer briskly over medium-low heat until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk remaining ½ cup milk into eggs. Slowly pour into hot rice mixture and cook over low heat until thick, about 3 minutes, whisking constantly.

3. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm or cold and topped with Common Wine Sauce.


Common Wine Sauce

Makes 1 cup. Recipe is adapted from Godey’s Lady’s Book (1862) by Cynthia Nobles.


3 tbls. butter

¼ cup sugar

1 cup sherry

½ cup brandy

½ tsp. grated lemon peel

¼ tsp. grated nutmeg

1 tbl. water

2 tsp. cornstarch


1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add sherry, brandy, lemon peel, and nutmeg and boil over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes.

2. Mix water and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk into sauce. Boil briskly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly before serving.