Traditional English Pudding for the Daring Bakers

This month has been a whirlwind of sorts on the work front and though I had planned to tackle this month’s challenge way ahead of posting time, I couldn’t quite get it done until this morning. The Daring Bakers challenge this month is Traditional English Pudding –either savory or sweet.

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.

The original challenge recipe included using suet, which I was not too comfortable about using nor familiar with. They were several leniencies allowed in this month’s challenge --as long as we made a steamed pudding with or without the use of suet we were good to go.

After having scoured through several links and read through various recipes for steamed puddings, I decided to try a version of my own. I made a simple Syrup Sponge Pudding with Golden Syrup and a hint of almond. I have never tasted an English pudding before and was looking forward to tasting one.

Syrup Sponge Pudding:
You will need:

Butter, for greasing
45 ml/3 tbsp golden syrup
100 g soft unsalted butter
100 g caster (superfine) sugar
2 eggs
175 g self-rising flour
5 ml/1 tsp baking powder
30 ml/2 tbsp milk
½ tsp Almond extract
Extra syrup for topping

Steamer (I used a Pressure cooker)
6 ramkeins/cups or a 1.2 ltr pudding basin
Foil or wax paper

Note about Golden Syrup: If you can't find Golden Syrup where you live, use equal parts of honey and corn syrup to achieve required amount called for in the recipe.

Grease the ramekins or deep steel bowls with butter and keep aside. If using a pudding basin, grease the same.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for a minute. Then add the eggs and beat for a minute or two after each addition. Now add the flour, baking powder, almond extract and milk. Beat until smooth.

Pour a teaspoon of syrup in each of the greased ramekins/bowls. Divide the batter among the cups equally. Level the tops using a spoon or thin spatula. Cover the cups loosely with wax paper allowing room for expansion and tie with string.

Steam in a pressure cooker or steamer of your choice for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the pudding comes out clean. I used an upturned steel vessel as a platform inside the pressure cooker. The vessel was surrounded by hot water. The cups were placed on top of the steel vessel. I had the heat on low and kept a watch on the water level as the pudding steamed. Add more hot water if needed.

Once the pudding is done, unmould them onto plates and serve warm. The sponge was sweet by itself with the golden syrup topping, so I didn’t make a custard or cream to go along with it. Drizzle more syrup over the pudding before serving.

The results were fantastic and absolutely delicious. Thanks to Esther for a tasty challenge!

Saffron Mango Crème with Pistachios

This past weekend a few of us friends met up at another friend's place for a potluck dinner. I usually take dessert which gives me a chance to try something new. This time I made Saffron Mango creme, a creamy smooth dessert with the intense flavor of Mangoes and the ever so slight royal taste of saffron running through it. Topped off with crunchy pistachios, this one's bound to be gone in minutes.

You will need:

1 cup Heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups unsweetened Mango pulp
¼ - ½ cup powdered Sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
2 tbsp finely chopped Pistachios
1 tsp Saffron strands

6 (4 oz) Ramekins

Place the bowl of a stand-up mixer or a glass bowl, and beaters in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour. Whip cream in chilled bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. The cream should have volume but no stiffness.

Slowly stir in the mango pulp, powdered sugar (to suit taste) saffron strands and a tablespoon of the chopped pistachios. Combine using a spatula, don’t beat.

Divide the mango crème between the six ramekins and refrigerate for 4-6 hours until thoroughly chilled. Top the crème with the remaining pistachios before serving.

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