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.
Now, as a vegetarian, I’ve gone away from the traditional suet here in favour of a different fat: butter. And because it’s me, I’ve gone whole wheat with the sponge… But I stuck to the traditional British pudding method of steaming! I rigged up a set of ramekins in a casserole dish with some water in the bottom, and steamed in the oven.
While I was in the research phase of preparing this dish, I asked my folks (who both attended South African boarding schools) if they remembered being served puddings. I was answered with big smiles, and long lists of their favourites, including custards, bread pudding, mango fool, rice pudding, and Christmas cakes. Something for me to go explore — I’ve just picked up Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Puddings, and can’t wait to try some more traditional British desserts out in my kitchen.
Rhubarb Steamed Pudding
Adapted from BBC’s Good Food Recipes: Rhubarb Steamed Pudding, Serves 4
- 350g fresh rhubarb , cut into 4cm lengths
- 75g sugar
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, microplaned or grated
- 125g sugar
- 125g butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175g whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
Start by preparing the rhubarb:
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a medium pot over low heat, cook the rhubarb with the sugar and ginger for 2-3 mins until slightly softened. Set aside, away from heat.
Grease four large ramekins (I sprayed them with cooking spray, it’s just so easy).
Now we move onto the sponge:
Cream together butter and remaining sugar, then add vanilla and eggs. Fold the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture.
Spoon the cooked rhubarb into the ramekins, then spoon the sponge mixture on top and level off surface.
Cover each ramekin with a piece of parchment paper. Then cover with aluminum foil and tie tightly with string so that steam doesn’t get into the puddings.
Place ramekins in a casserole dish half filled with water, and cook for 1½ hrs, checking regularly that the pan does not boil dry. They will look like this once they’re ready to come out of the oven:
Remove cover, invert the ramekins onto a plate, then carefully lift off the ramekins. If it scares you to flip them out, I recommend my tried-and-true technique of yelling: “One, two, three, GO!!!” at the top of your lungs and then flipping them like a madperson. It works, I am telling you now, just like it does for crepes.
I must tell you, I am truly in love with this dessert. A steamed cake really didn’t sound all that appealing to me, but WOWIE! This was so amazingly light and tender and softly sweet, and amazing. I will definitely be making this one again — and likely for dinner parties, as it comes together so quickly and easily but looks so pretty and won’t be overly heavy at the end of a big meal. Thanks to Esther at The Lilac Kitchen for this Daring Baker’s Challenge, which has given me a new addition to my dessert repertoire — it’s incredible!