Perhaps the most famous and widely accepted dish in the list of Morporkian comfort foods, this dessert occupies a place filled in some other cultures by Mom's Apple Pie. Since the days of Empire, Morporkian troops, travellers and expatriates stranded abroad with short rations or strange foods have reminisced about Distressed Pudding like mother / grandma / matron used to make (maybe following a virtual pint of Winkles Old Peculiar).
Like all dishes of the kind, created over the years by thousands of housewives of different means, the recipe may vary in most of its particulars, but the basics are bread, stewed fruit, and some creamy pudding or custard, all sweetened with treacle, layered and baked en casserole. A typical recipe from the gritty heart of Ankh-Morpork is provided by Nobby Nobbs's mum, Maisie, in Nanny Ogg's Cookbook
The name is possibly a reference to "sad cakes", a traditional Yorkshire dessert.