heart warming and spongey food for the winter

Steamed puddings are one of my favorite desserts for winter, along with crumbles, pies and other baked things warm, straight from the hot oven, with yummy custard or ice cream. The only thing that stops me is the steaming time. Other than that they are so easy to make, just mix the few ingredients, tie up in a pudding basin, and set to steam for a few hours. No it is not a dessert you can rush or prepare at the last minute, but it can be kept for ages in the fridge or freezer, and resteamed to serve whenever you feel like some warmth.

The puddings became a particular favorite of mine when I first moved out of my family home to live on my own. I had no microwave and had just made a christmas plum pudding. Luckily I could still enjoy a few slices steamed till moist and spongey and ready to eat. I just love the light texture and satisfying feeling of the pudding.

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

We could make sweet or savory pies with rolled suet crusts, or boiled or steamed suet sponge mixes. I still really want to try to make an old fashioned steak pie, and hope to for sometime in the middle of winter, when I’ll appreciate it, but I ran out of time. As it was my plan to make several different types of steamed sponge flavours never was realised. But I know I love these little pudding deserts and will not miss out on making them at my leisure soon.

I used the basic recipe, and added some chopped pears and golden syrup to the bottom, as well as some cardamon and cinnamon spice to the batter. I would have loved raspberries in the topping as well, but used the last in some pancakes and forgotten to replace them, oh well.

Steamed Suet Pudding, sponge type.

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.

I really like my puddings (or any hot dessert) with some cool creamy ice cream to contrast. I had vanilla, but would be equally delicious with chocolate, maybe even bringing out the flavor of the pear and cardamon more.

Can’t wait to make some more flavours and eat some more puddings….all in the name of research 🙂

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