I thought I’d treat you all to the recipe for a classic British favourite. When I asked my esteemed colleagues here at AAR – the majority of whom reside “across the pond” – I was told that steamed puddings aren’t a big thing over there. Well, if that’s the case, then you guys over there are really missing out on the ultimate comfort food which is really tasty and very easy to prepare.
There are different ways of preparing this dish, but here’s the basic one that I usually use.
This recipe will feed four people.
For the filling:
- 400g Steak and Kidney. If you don’t like kidney, don’t worry. I have to make it without it now, as one of my daughters dislikes it, so I just use 400g of diced beef. Because the pudding is cooked very slowly, you don’t have to use the most expensive cuts – something suitable for casseroles is fine – just trim the fat and cut into cubes of roughly the same size. (If you like, you could add a few chopped mushrooms instead of the kidney)
- 1-2 tablespoons of seasoned flour
- One medium-sized onion, chopped
- Worcestershire sauce
- Approx 100ml water OR cool beef stock
For the pastry:
- 6 oz plain flour
- 3oz Beef or Vegetable suet
You will need a one pint pudding basin – I use a ceramic one like this, but the plastic ones with lids you can buy work just as well – and EITHER a steamer, or a large saucepan into which you put a trivet, so the basin doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan.
- Toss the cubed meat in the seasoned flour and mix with the chopped onion
- Make the pastry by mixing together the flour and suet, with a little salt and pepper, and adding enough water to make it into a dough.
- Take roughly two-thirds of the dough and roll it out into a circle on a floured board. Use this to line the basin, and roll out the other third into a circle for the top.
- Put the meat and onions into the pastry, then mix a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (depending on taste) in with the water or stock and add this. The meat should be barely covered by the liquid, so if you may need a bit less or a bit more.
- Dampen the edges of the pastry in the basin and then put on the lid you’ve already rolled out.
- Cover the pudding with a layer of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil, and tie securely with string.
- Some people use string to make a handle to use to move the basin about, but I’m lazy so I rarely do that!
- The pudding needs to be steamed for about 5 hours, so once it’s done, you can leave it to cook, although you will need to check the water level once or twice. If you’re using the pan and trivet, make sure the water doesn’t come more than half way up the basin.
- Once the time is up – slide a palette knife around the edges of the pudding, put a large plate on the top, turn over – et voilà!
Sweet steamed puddings are great, too and really easy to make.
Another traditional favourite is called “Spotted Dick” (or sometimes Spotted Dog), which is basically a suet putting with sultanas in. For four very generous helpings, use 3oz suet, 6oz self-raising flour and 2 oz (or more if you like!) sultanas. Mix these all together and add milk until you’ve got a batter-like consistency. Put into your basin, cover and steam for 1½ hours, turn out and serve with lots of custard!
You can use the same method for sponge puddings, too. Mix together 4 oz of butter or margarine, 4oz caster sugar, 4oz self-raising flour and 2 eggs. Put a couple of tablespoons of syrup or jam into the bottom of your basin, put the mixture on top, cover and steam for 1½ hours and serve with custard.
It’s also possible to make the sweet puddings using a microwave. The results are perfectly fine, although I don’t think they taste as good as when made using the traditional method.
Please let me know if you try any of these and how they turn out!
– Caz AAR