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.
This was definitely a daring challenge, but I'm sad to say I was only able to moderately complete it. This month has been rather insane, so I really didn't have time to try all of the variations that I wanted to.
What's daring about an English Pudding? Well...first, it's knowing what a pudding is: something cake-like that is steamed for several hours and contains suet, or beef fat. I'll admit...I'm one of the most daring eaters that I know, and there was no way I was going to try using suet in my dessert. Esther gave us a few options for savory puddings (basically, a meat filling wrapped up in a suet based pastry crust), but as I said, I just didn't have the time to try all of the variations. Luckily for vegetarians and non-daring folks alike, there were a few options to use butter or shortening.
I actually ended up using a Donna Hay recipe for a golden syrup pudding. This was a new ingredient for me. It's kind of like a cross between honey and corn syrup, but not nearly as sweet. I found it at Cost Plus and am now addicted. It's great on toast, in tea, on pancakes, and yes, in a lovely steamed "pudd."
The process for a sweet pudding, is actually pretty easy, once you have the right equipment. I borrowed a metal pudding mold that has a tight fitting lid, but you could easily just use a glass or porcelain bowl covered with parchment and wrapped with kitchen twine. I steamed it in my crock pot, but again, if you don't have one, a nice big pot on the stove with a rack in it would be just fine.
All together, it took exactly 3 minutes to whip up the batter and 2 1/2 hours to steam it on high. The result: a moist sponge cake with a golden syrup topping. Delicious!
I'm definitely going to make a savory version soon, and will post those results separately.
This was a great challenge and I can't wait to try cooking more with this method. Take a peak at the Daring Kitchen to see the creative dishes that the other Daring Cooks came up with! Thanks Esther - this was so much fun!
***These pictures were all taken by Ava...not too shabby for a 5 year old!