Daring Bakers April 2010: Steamed Sponge Pudding

I joined Daring Bakers in February, and I had been patiently waiting until I would be able to participate in my first challenge. The challenge was to use suet (cow fat—the equivalent of pork lard), and to cook a pudding in the traditional steaming method.

In my mind, I’ve always associated steamed puddings with Christmas and winter. My grandmother used to order a Christmas pudding (with hard sauce) every Christmas and it would always be served at the table alongside our home-made fruit cake. I really liked Christmas pudding more than fruit cake because it was moist and you could spread butter on it. Who wouldn’t love that?

But right now, it’s April, and sunny, and I have zero desire to eat boozy dried fruits. The other option was to make a savory pudding: typically kidneys and steak in sauce encased in a pastry shell, that is then steamed until cooked. That did not sound like an appetizing option.

I was almost certain I would pass on this first challenge. Then I remembered that in November of last year I bought a pudding pan at a discount store because I wanted to try my hand at making Christmas pudding. This was my one chance to put that piece of equipment to good use! I thought that it is called a challenge for a reason! I had to find a recipe that would fit in with the spirit of the challenge and that would satisfy my craving for something light and sweet. I knew I would have to forgo the suet part, but stick to a dessert made with the steaming method. After some googling I found this website.

The pudding in the pictures looked moist, and tempting. I had always wanted to try that recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. I reached towards my bookcase looking for the book… wait, where is my book? Hmmm… that’s right, I lent it to a family member years ago and it was never returned to me. That is probably the reason why I never got around to making the recipe. The decision was made. I was making Nigella Lawson’s steamed pudding. I reached deep in the back of my kitchen cabinet to retrieve the long forgotten pudding pan, and got to work.

This was also a good chance to use the last of the araucana eggs and meyer lemons I had in the fridge.

And a chance to try a new ingredient: golden syrup. At first I thought it was just like corn syrup, but it isn’t. It is made from cane sugar.

And here it is, beautiful golden brown, oozing with syrup. I served it with vanilla bean custard. The pudding is very sweet with a hint of lemon. It’s perfect with the creaminess of the vanilla bean custard sauce. It would also be great with vanilla ice cream.

Steamed Sponge Pudding

• ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup sugar
• 3 large eggs
• zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
• 3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the syrup
• ¾ cup golden syrup
• zest and juice of one Meyer lemon

1. Prepare water bath. In a large pot that fits your pudding bowl/pan, place steamer fill pot ensuring that the amount of water comes 2/3 of the way up the sides of your pudding bowl/pan. Bring water to a boil while you prepare the pudding.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in lemon zest and juice. Mix in flour. Mix in heavy cream.
3. Prepare the syrup. Stir the golden syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice together.
4. Grease your pudding bowl/pan with butter. Pour in the syrup mixture. Pour in the batter. Cover with parchment paper and tie with kitchen twine. Cover with aluminum foil and tie with kitchen twine. If your basin/pan does not have handles, you will have to make a little handle with twine in order to be able to fish it out of the water once it’s ready. Just tie twine around the bowl, and then tie a piece of twine on opposite sides of the bowl
5. Place pudding basin/pan. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer the pudding for 2 hours. Checking every 30 minutes to ensure that the pan has enough water. Water should come 2/3 of the way up the sides of your pudding bowl/pan at all times.
6. After 2 hours of simmering, remove the pudding bowl/pan out of the pot. Cool for about 5 minutes, and then turn onto a rimmed plate. Serve with vanilla bean custard.

Vanilla Bean Custard

• 2 egg yolks
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• ½ cup whole milk
• ½ cup heavy cream
• ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy
1. Place milk, cream, and vanilla bean inside a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2. Slowly whisk milk mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture. Return mixture back to saucepan and heat on medium low heat, stirring often, until it thickens about 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Cool, covered, in the refrigerator.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

3 thoughts

  1. Ooo, your pudding looks divine! And you’re one of a few people who actually has the steaming bowl specifically for steamed puddings… that should be worth extra marks 🙂 Great job on this month’s challenge, keep up the great bakes.

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