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.
First, I have to say that suet is not new to me. For one thing, I feed it to my birds all winter long ;) Beyond that though, I have two parents of British ancestry, so traditional Christmas Pudding (made with suet) has been on our Christmas dinner table forever (my favourite part was always the rum sauce though). Unlike some of the other Daring Bakers, cooking suet is also very easy to find around here. It can be found in most grocery stores all year round.
Despite the fact that suet was easy to find and I wasn’t wary of using it … I didn’t end up using it in my steamed pudding. In the end, it came down to whether my family would eat it up and while my husband has grown to enjoy Christmas pudding over the years, it’s April and we weren’t really in the mood. What we always enjoy though, is a good sticky toffee pudding and I couldn’t wait to try a steamed version.
It was so good! I just made a small pudding because I knew the daughter wouldn’t eat it (she’s so predictable … as soon as she heard the word “dates” she completely ruled it out as something she would ever eat :) This pudding would make a wonderful substitute for Christmas pudding or as a perfect, sweet ending to a winter meal. If you’re a fan of Sticky Toffee Pudding and haven’t tried a steamed version, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Thanks to Esther for a great challenge. I would never have known how yummy a steamed Sticky Toffee Pudding was!
If a steamed pudding isn’t your thing, I have a baked Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe here »
Steamy Sticky Toffee Pudding
Summary: This is traditional steamed sticky toffee pudding recipe. It is a bit fiddly to make (the steaming part) but well worth the effort!
- 45 grams butter (3 Tbsp.)
- 45 grams light brown sugar (1/4 cup, packed)
- 75 grams dates (20 dates or about 1/2 cup), chopped as large or fine as you like (cooking dates are fine, or medjool dates are great, if you can find them)
- 100 ml hot water (scant 1/2 cup)
- 180 grams all-purpose flour (scant 1 1/4 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 30 grams (2 Tbsp.) butter (I like to use salted butter. If you use unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
- 120 grams mixed dark and light brown sugar (about 3/4 cup, packed)
- 130 ml whipping cream (35%) (about 2/3 cup)
- Put the chopped dates into a small bowl. Cover with the hot water, then add the baking powder, vanilla essence and baking powder. Stir, then leave to soak for 10 minutes.
- With an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar, beat in the egg gradually. Add dates and water mixture and then the flour. Mix well.
- Prepare a small steaming bowl (the bowl I used was a small, glass mixing bowl that holds 6 cups of water) by greasing generously with butter. Spoon batter into the bowl (the pudding will rise about an inch, so be sure you have that much room at least), smooth out and cover with buttered aluminum foil. Steam (*see below for instructions on how to steam your pudding) for 1 to 1.5 hours or until a skewer or a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- While pudding is steaming, prepare the sauce by combining the butter, brown sugars and cream in a small saucepan, bringing to a boil and then allowing to simmer until slightly thickened.
- Remove bowl from steamer and allow pudding to partially cool in the bowl. Invert pudding onto a plate (it may be necessary to cut a bit off the bottom so the pudding sits evenly).
- Using the blunt end of a skewer (or a chopstick), poke some holes in the pudding. Spoon some of the sauce over the pudding, guiding the sauce toward (and into) the holes. Spoon some more warm sauce over pudding just before serving and pass extra in a bowl, for those who love even more sauce!. Serve warm, as it is, or add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- If you’ve made your pudding ahead, it and the sauce can be re-heated in the microwave.
- Variation: You can also prepare the sauce first, put half of it in the steaming bowl (before steaming), then add the batter and proceed to steam as usual. Spoon the remainder of the sauce over the cooked pudding. With this method, the sauce combines with the pudding while steaming, resulting in a “sticky” outside of the pudding.
- Adapted from this recipe.
- How to Steam Your Pudding:
- First, you will need a large Dutch oven or similar pot. Since the bowl being steamed can’t touch the bottom of the pot, you’ll also need something to place on the bottom to raise the bowl up. I used 3 metal english muffin rings, or you could use cookie cutters, scrunched up aluminum foil or even a tea towel folded up. The important thing is that it’s level and steady, so the bowl can’t slip off.
- Fill the Dutch oven about half full with water. Take a moment to dry-fit your set up. Place your empty steaming bowl into the pot, fill with some water and see how high the water in the pot comes up the sides of the bowl. It should come up about one-third to half way up the side of the bowl. Also check and make sure that you can fit the lid of the Dutch oven onto the pot with the steaming bowl in. Finally, make sure that there is at least an inch between the edge of the steaming bowl and the sides of the Dutch oven. You’ll need this space to reach in and grab the pudding to remove it when it’s done. If everything checks out, remove and dry out your steaming bowl and start the water in the Dutch oven to boil.
- Prepare your pudding as directed above. Cover with buttered tin foil and very gently and slowly drop into the boiling water (being careful not to splash yourself or to splash water into your pudding). Cover Dutch oven with lid. Reduce the heat down to medium/medium-high (enough so that it’s still making steam). After 30 minutes, check water level in steamer and add some more hot water to the pot if the water level has dropped. Continue steaming, checking your pudding at 1 hour with a skewer or a knife. It should come out clean. If you’re not sure it’s done, steam a little longer, to be safe. When done, carefully lift the bowl out with oven mitts and leave to cool in the bowl. Once the bowl is cool enough to handle, turn the pudding out onto a plate.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Total time: 1 hour 45 min
Number of servings (yield): 6