‘Pudding’ is a dessert but a dessert is not always a pudding. Get it?
It can get awfully confusing when Brits seem to use these words interchangeably. If Brits offer you some ‘pudding’ after dinner and they bring you some ice-cream, don’t be surprised! The simple explanation is that Brits use the word ‘pudding’ to refer to dessert. If they are going to serve you an actual pudding they will specify the type of pudding, for example sticky toffee pudding, rice pudding etc.
The reason for using the word ‘pudding’ instead of dessert is actually based on the British class system. Traditionally pudding referred to homely and rustic desserts that were commonly eaten by the lower classes, such as Spotted Dick and rice pudding. Whereas dessert was indulged by the upper classes and included international cuisine like chocolate mousse, soufflé and Champagne jelly.
Nowadays not only have class lines become a little fuzzy but so have the dessert categories. Recipes that were originally eaten by the lower class have become new and fashionable. At the same time the upper class desserts are more attainable to everyday people. And so the lines between the word dessert and the word pudding became blurry. Now they basically mean the same thing!
We hope that wasn’t too confusing!