Wednesday, April 28, 2010

daring bakers: steamed british pudding

I admit, I dreaded this challenge all month. We were supposed to make a traditional British steamed suet pudding, either a crust or a sponge pudding. The ingredient list for the sponge pudding didn't appeal to me, so I decided to make the crust pudding. But I was defeated by my imagination--a steamed crust pudding just sounded like it would come out squishy and dumpling-like. I couldn't bring myself to make it. (Judging by some of the others' pictures, I was completely wrong and steaming will give you a lovely crisp crust.) So I made the sponge pudding instead.

The batter had a nice flavor and came together in five minutes or less. I didn't know where to get suet, so I used a mixture of butter and butter-flavored Crisco. I was also out of milk, so I swapped half cream and half water. And I didn't have a one-liter bowl or even a tall, relatively narrow bowl. So I just buttered up one of my small metal mixing bowls and steamed the pudding in that. Unfortunately, I didn't butter it enough. My pudding broke when I tipped it out.

The final flavor of the pudding was fine. The breadcrumbs gave the pudding a coarser texture than I care for. I mixed up some Byrd's custard (with a little extra powder for thickening and a *ton* of extra sugar) and made a tangerine caramel for serving. After dousing the pudding in custard and caramel, I understood the need for the breadcrumbs. They help the pudding keep a little bit of form under a deluge of sauces.

The pudding was a fun thing to try, but I probably won't make it again. I liked it okay, but I didn't love it, even with the sauces. And three hours is a long time to wait for a dessert that I don't love. [Edit: After letting everything sit over night and cool so that it wasn't a hopeless slog of soggy pudding, I really enjoyed the dessert. It reminds me a little of old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.]

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.

steamed sponge pudding
100 g all-purpose flour
.25 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
100 g bread crumbs
75 g caster sugar
75 g butter & butter-flavored Cristco
1 large egg
6-8 TB cold milk

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

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