Last week I decided that I really wanted to try baking an old English type steamed pudding. I have never eaten one before and really didn't know much about them or the cooking method. So I searched out some old recipes then read about the methodology online.
What I found was there are two types of steaming methods:
1) to place and seal the ingredients in a bowl and then place in a pot of water with lid and boil
2) to place and seal the ingredients in a bowl and then place in a pot with boiling water and bake in the oven
I also discovered that even though the recipe is called 'pudding' it is not like pudding as I know it (a custard like consistency), but rather a very moist cake. There are many types of pudding moulds and even pudding moulds with lids. The ingredients must remain sealed so as to prevent any outside moisture from getting in.
I still have a number of jars of mincemeat left over from what I canned last year so I searched for a steamed pudding using that ingredient. I figured there must be something....
and of course I found it on the 18th C Cuisine blog:
Baked Mincemeat Pudding
2 cups mincemeat [I used homemade, brandied mincemeat]
1/2 cup [1 stick] butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Optional: chopped nuts, about 1/2 cup [I did not use]
Cream butter and sugar; beat in one egg at a time. Sift dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in mincemeat and nuts, if using. Butter and sugar a baking dish [charlotte mold works well] and pour batter in. Cover with a piece of greased paper to fit top of dish. Set dish into another larger dish and surround with boiling water [bain marie], place in moderate oven [350ºF] and bake for at least one hour.
Continue to check for doneness by inserting a broom straw in the middle--if it comes out clean, the pudding is done. Remove from water bath and allow to cool before running a knife around the edge and slipping from the pan onto a serving platter.
Can douse with more brandy and flambé or serve with dessert sauce [Sabayon: 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup Marsala. Whip over a boiling water bath (Bain Marie) until thick. Serve over pudding slices.] Pudding texture and taste improves with age.
So, here is a photo of my completed pudding which took 3 hours in the oven to set. It may not look like much but is tasted very good - rich and dense but not too sweet. My family loved it. As a bonus it was actually very easy to make - I was rather intimated to try it as I have not tried steaming anything before. The ingredients came together quickly, I sealed the glass bowl tightly with tin foil, put in a second pan with water and let it bake. Simple!
This week I'll be making Rhubarb Steamed Pudding.