Yesterday's post about not wasting windfall apples and about making steamed puddings, brought in a host of comments; some from people who remembered them from their childhood and who dare not make them now because of their waistlines (I fall into that category too), and some from bloggers in America who say that they do not have steamed puddings over there. Well - wouldn't it be nice if I started a Steamed Pudding Movement over there??? Several people have asked for the recipe so I will give it to you. The only thing is that you probably can't get suet over there. We can buy suet chopped up into tiny pieces so that it is easy to mix in. What is suet I hear you ask? It is the hard animal fat which is cut out in chunks (sounds awful doesn't it?) I suppose that if suet is unobtainable then you could use another fat of some kind but I am not sure what. Elizabeth of The World Examining Works (see my blog list) probably remembers suet from her days in UK and could possibly advise on an alternative. Otherwise I would suggest whatever fat you use in making pastry. Experiment! (In UK this is marketed as Atora Beef Suet)
Recipe: 8oz Self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder), 4oz suet or alternative fat (ration of 8:4 so easily convertible for US readers), milk or water to mix to a firm dough. Roll it out and line a pudding basin (or anything similar), Don't roll it out too thinly it needs to be about one to one and a half centimetres thick. Mould it to the basin shape with your fingers and remember to keep back enough to make a lid. Fill the lined basin with chopped fruit - apples are my favourite by my father loved steamed redcurrant pudding - so really any fruit will do. Add enough sugar to sweeten and then rollout and fit a lid with the remaining piece of the pastry - damp the edges to make it stick and press all round the edge well so that the fruit is firmly enclosed in the suet pastry. Cover with greaseproof paper and then with aluminium foil - not too tight because it must have room to rise slightly but cover it well enough to keep the water out.
Put the finished article into a pan and pour boiling water round it up to around the rim. Put a lid on the pan and put it on to a simmer heat for two hours. I have an Aga and I put the pan into the simmering oven. At the end of the cooking time take the basin from the pan, take off the coverings and invert the basin on to a plate. Juices will run out onto your plate - don't worry - that is the tasty bit!
Sit it in the middle of the table for limited worship before cutting into pieces. I like to eat it with a sprinkling of brown sugar and a pouring of single cream. The farmer likes custard. Yes it will be stodgy and very filling - that is why we only eat it in winter. As my mother used to say, "It sticks to your ribs!"
Remember, dear readers, this pudding has saved marriages, firmly fixed friendships, filled many an empty corner in hungry stomachs. In the old days, when our mums had plenty of time for cooking and not much spare cash, housewives (remember them?) would make up the recipe and just push the whole lot into a basin without rolling it out, so that what came out at the end of the cooking time was just a basin shaped suet pudding. Then they would serve it first course at a meal with the onion gravy (sauce) left from yesterday's meal. This would mean that they didn't need so much meat in the next course as everyone would be full up with suet pudding. You have been warned!
If anybody in US tries it, please let us know how it turned out and what you thought to it. Enjoy (don't expect to do anything in the least bit like exercise for an hour after eating it - and don't jump into the deep end of a swimming pool unless you can swim!)
PS Remember to check the water level in the pan from time to time and top it up with more boiling water to just below the rim.
January 4, 2023: With gratitude to Rebecca Solnit / Reruns from January 30, 31 and February 1, 2, 3, 4, 2007: Mona Lisa and the Clown and the Cool Rain of the Law (1985), Woman Trying to Remember What She is Trying to Forget (1986), Painting in America (1986), Full Moon, Chair and Planter Rising (1986), Church of the Holy Contradiction, and Untitled Scene (1986)