When I first read what this month's challenge was going to be, I thought hmmmmm...well, ok, this is a new one and something I've never made before and in some varieties, I've actually eaten. But hey, I have a soft spot in my heart for certain British folks and hey, give me that cool British accent on the right guy and it's over! You know the saying, "the way to a man's heart, is through his stomach" and if this type of guy or this type of guy could be the end result, then I say bring it on!
First let me introduce our hostess this month:
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.
After reading that description, you may be wondering, what is suet and how do you even pronounce it?
suet [SOO-iht] "Found in beef, sheep and other animals, suet is the solid white fat found around the kidneys and loins. Many British recipes call for it to lend richness to pastries, puddings, stuffings and mincemeats. Suet was once widely used to make tallow candles". ~ Food Lover's Companion, pg. 602
*For more information regarding suet and some examples, be sure to check here at the Daring Kitchen.
The decision between a savory dish or a dessert, was quickly made, as all things in my life at the moment revolve around desserts and so began the hunt for a new recipe. In this challenge we were told that we needed to make a traditional British pudding using one of the techniques and then we could use any type of recipe to incorporate our creative ideas. As interesting as the suet ingredient sounded, I went with the ingredients I had on hand, which of course was anything dessert related.
Our hostess Esther of The Lilac Kitchen explained what is meant by "pudding":
"Some of you will know about the British and the word pudding but for those that don't we use the word for many things:
1) Black pudding and white pudding a sort of meat and grain sausage. Black pudding uses blood as well as meat.
2) Pudding — a generic word for desert
3) Pudding — any dish cooked in a pudding bowl or pudding cloth normally steamed, boiled but sometimes baked.
4) An endearment i.e., "How are you today my pudding?"
For this challenge we are using the third meaning a dish cooked in a pudding bowl or cloth, though many of you may opt to do a sweet version in which case version two also applies!"
Now that you have all the necessary British terms defined, let me explain and show you how easy this dessert really is to make.
I found a recipe from a cookbook I had in my collection and decided to give it go and I also found a pudding container with a lid that my mom has had for years and apparently has made a pumpkin steamed pudding for Thanksgiving many years ago. And it must have been years and YEARS ago, because this was news to me and apparently I've had steamed pudding before. But this will be the first time that I can recall in my adult life.
I found a few choices, but decided to go with the container that had a lid, which seemed like a secure choice. But now that I know how to make a steamed pudding, I'll have cool design choices to pick from later.
BLUEBERRY STEAMED PUDDING
From Classic Stars Desserts: Favorite Recipes by Emily Luchetti, pgs. 54-55
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
pinch + 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. lemon zest
3) Place blueberry mixture in the bottom of the prepared pudding mold.
4) Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger and salt and set aside.
5) In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses, milk, egg, melted butter, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the mold over the blueberries and cover the mold with a lid.
6) Place the pudding mold in a pot large enough to accommodate the mold with at least 1 1/2 inches of clearance on the top and sides. Fill the pot with hot water to reach one-third of the way up the sides of the mold. *I used a stock pot which gave the pudding mold enough room and it held the steam/heat very nicely.
7) Cover the pot and bring the water to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Steam the pudding for about 1 hour, checking the water periodically to make sure that it is just simmering. (Rapidly boiling water will cause the pudding to rise prematurely and then sink). The pudding is ready when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. *I took it out of the stock pot after about 55 minutes and the skewer came out clean.
8) Let the pudding cool for 10 minutes. To unmold, invert a platter on top of the mold and then invert the plate and mold together. Lift off the mold. Let cool to room temperature and then slice pudding and serve.
*The recipe suggested to serve the pudding with a Chantilly cream, but I decided to add more of a lemon flavor by making a light lemon sauce. The lemon sauce recipe was written on a recipe card from our long time family friend Jan way back in 1976--which was on the back of the pumpkin pudding recipe that my Mom used to make at Thanksgiving (the dessert that I can't seem to remember, but apparently I ate it and loved it).
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
My overall opinion of this traditional British dessert is that it was surprisingly easy and tasted better than I thought it would. The molasses was a bit strong, but by adding the lemon sauce it helped to tone it down.
I think next time, I would like to make a chocolate & caramel sticky pudding, because I don't think you can go wrong with that flavor combination. But I'm glad I tried something new and I can add this steaming technique to my list of culinary skills, which is always a good thing.
And who knows, maybe someday soon, I'll meet some fantastic British guy and I'll be prepared to make him a dish that will remind him of home.