Steamed puddings: the mystery of the veiled bowl
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.
It was 12:30am and I had to wake up in five and a half hours to get ready for work. I was desperately trying to stay awake and it didn’t help that the apartment was so steamy that a party of Romans would have felt perfectly comfortable dropping their togas and having a sauna. These were the makings of the April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge which was hosted by Esther, of The Lilac Kitchen. Esther chose to have the daring crew make traditional british steamed puddings – she gave a lot of leeway in terms of what recipes we could use but she did give a selection of resources to get us started. And several of the recipes used suet, which, for many, was a challenge in and of itself. Read more about the challenge recipes and see what some of the other participants made here.
When I was at the Brooklyn Kitchen getting ingredients for Brunswick stew I picked up half a pound of suet, which the butcher gave to me ‘on the house’ – I guess there isn’t a lot of demand in Brooklyn for big chunks of cow fat. I’m not sure what our collective aversion is to this substance – for me I think it was mostly just unknown -I can’t claim to be averse to fats in general given the sheer quantities of butter I consume and the fact that I love nothing more that a juicy steak with a (un)healthy piece of fat on it. Anyway, after my initial distaste I was happy to try something new and to know that I was using up parts of the animal that might otherwise not be eaten.
I decided to do two types of pudding since these were new to me and I wanted a chance to experiment. I made one steak, mushroom and onion pudding, following Esther’s recipe for steak and kidney but subbing in the vegetables instead of the kidney. I also made a Sussex Pond pudding from a Pudding Club recipe – which is a pudding with a crust that is filled with a mix of butter and sugar and has inside it a whole lemon. The lemon cooks and juices so that the pudding lands up saucy and tart. I would have approached this whole citrus concept with a lot more sceptiscim if I were not a recent convert to the craft of preserved lemons.
I have to admit I found the whole experience a tad stressful, what with all the tying of foil and setting up a makeshift steamer… and none of this was helped by the late hour of the steaming. But I think I will try making steamed puddings again. In particular Rebecca revealed to me in email what she had made and I know that is one recipe I’m going to have to try (its not up on CakeWalk yet but will be soon I’m sure)