Update: I've talked to the lady whose post I've read on Facebook. She said that this is not from a book, but part of a cooking show's transcript. Don't ask me why she didn't say earlier. I asked her if she could share the link to the video, but there was no response. Hope this helps.

I'm confused by a passage in a book I'm reading. Could someone please help me interpret it?

....then a Spanish pepper is…., I always take the top and the bottom of… and just hold it above the sink or the rubbish bin, so that if you rub vigorously all the seeds fall out. It’s just like with those little puddings, those little desserts, you always need to drill a hole in the top so that it drops out easily.

The context is that if you rub a pepper, its seeds start falling out, just like with the "pudding".

Please enlighten me: what exactly does this passage mean? Why would you drill a hole in the top of any pudding to make it drop out easily?

I tried The Free Dictionary's collection of definitions, but to no avail.

  • You drill in the bowl that holds the pudding. I think they mean something more like Jello, though.
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 22:21
  • 2
    @PerplexedPerson Would you mind sharing the name of the book? More context could be of use, and this passage might be available via Google Books.
    – user109263
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 22:31
  • 4
    @PerplexedPerson If it's any help, in Britain pudding is often synonymous with dessert - as well as having a more specific meaning.
    – WS2
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 22:57
  • 1
    I'm picturing in my head those little rice pudding-like desserts that come in little plastic containers, like this one. The texture of the pudding is often quite jello-ish, but firmer, so actually getting it out of the bowl can be a bit of a bother because there ends up being a vacuum between the bottom of the container and the pudding. Not sure I agree about having to drill a hole to get it out, though—that sounds like overkill. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 23:31
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    I would guess they're referring to a "pudding" which comes in a can. You open one end of the can, up-end it, then punch a hole in the other end to set air in, so the pudding will fall out. Of course, the substance that's called "pudding", in British cuisine, encompasses a wider menagerie of options than does "sweets" in the US, but it's reasonable to assume that it's gloppy, whatever it is. (But of course, all this is supposition, as Opie has failed to identify the book involved, it's author, and when and where it was published.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


It's referring to something like this:

image of upside down flan in a cup

You turn it upside-down to release a "pudding" like this:

image of right-side-up flan on a plate

The kind of pudding like this that I am most familiar with is called flan. (Tchrist pointed out in a comment that in North America, flan will probably be called a "custard" rather than a "pudding." Apparently, in British English, "pudding" can mean "dessert" and "custard" may instead be used to refer to something like a sauce.)

The process is described in "Puddings and Dairy-Based Deserts" by Ramesh C. Chandan and Arun Kilara, from Dairy Processing and Quality Assurance, by Ramesh C. Chandan, Arun Kilara, Nagendra P. Shah:

Flans are moldable gels which can easily be removed from their containers by placing the container upside down and punching a hole on the bottom to facilitate product removal. (415)

As Janus Bahs Jacquet says in a comment, if you do not punch a hole,

actually getting it out of the bowl can be a bit of a bother because there ends up being a vacuum between the bottom of the container and the pudding.

The ones I have eaten actually didn't require drilling a hole; instead, there was a tab in the center that could be broken off to make a hole in the container after it is inverted.

  • Flan is not pudding but custard.
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 4:28
  • @tchrist: Do you disagree that this is what was meant? You'll see that the section I quoted from "Puddings and Dairy-Based Deserts" has the title "Flan-type Pudding." As WS2 has said, it seems that the word "pudding" is pretty general in British English. It's possible to differentiate custards from puddings, but that doesn't mean everybody does. Even for people who do, it looks like the line can be blurry in some cases: cakespy.com/blog/2015/3/21/…
    – herisson
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 4:52

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