I made a steamed pear and ginger pudding today because of the season savvy challenge on over at Frills in the Hills this week. I was actually already planning to make a steamed pudding and I was just mooching about on the net looking for a few options for apple pudding, wondering if I could put apple in the pudding rather than just in the bottom, when I came across the post challenging everyone to make something with pears this week and then blog about it.
You see I have become a steamed pudding junkie albeit of short history and therefore limited experience so far. My lovely, dynamo of a friend, Carly once brought me a steamed jam pudding (when I was a new mum of about 2 weeks and home made food was the best gift I could have received) in a pudding basin – wait for it – with a lid!! Not only that – it had a handle , it was light weight and it was non-stick.
I’ve always had this fear (not unjustified I think) of dropping the pudding basin when lifting it into or out of boiling hot water with just a paper lid tied around the rim with string. Call me crazy but this makeshift lid seemed very unstable and awkward. Handling it under conditions where scalding or steam blisters are quite likely was not my favourite job. Consequently I raced out (some many months later) and bought one of these incredible advances in cooking technology for myself 🙂
What a perfect wintery weekend dessert steamed puddings are. Able to be whipped up with pantry staples and varied by pretty much anything you fancy. As simple as jam or treacle in the bottom of the basin or fruits fresh, dried or tinned (or chocolate of course), in it or on it. Store bought custard is generally my (lazy, admittedly) sauce of choice although you can get fancy with Creme Anglaise, butterscotch sauce, citrus sauce, chocolate sauce etc etc depending on the feature of the pudding that you want to complement or enhance.
My favourite (non-homemade) custard of all time is tinned Ambrosia Devon Custard. As the tin says they’ve been making this custard since 1917 so they must be doing something right. I don’t think I’d have considered tinned custard but my Mum put me on to it and it’s really, really good. The ingredients on the tin aren’t anything to write home about but it’s a fabulous standby when you don’t want to use up 10 yolks or more to make a custard from scratch and infinitely better than the powdered (or carton) variety. I can get it in the ‘specialty’ or imported section in our local Coles. It’s very popular in the UK.
The steamed pear and ginger pudding I made today was to finish off a wholly vegetarian Indian meal I made for our (non-vegetarian) friends who live nearby. I always wonder if vegetarian food will really cut it with other meat eaters (given that it often doesn’t for me) so I figured a really moist, gingery pud with lots of warm custard would save the day if the food was a bit bland. Fortunately the food all worked (I’ll blog about it in my next post) and the pudding was still a hit.
I put the recipe together based on several I found on the net, taking the best bits of each and adding my own touches. The pudding was very moist, with the perfect amount of ginger, pear and sweetness.
So, what’s your favourite steamed pudding recipe?
Steamed Pear and Ginger Pudding
3 Buerre Bosch pears, peeled, cut into quarters and cored
80 g muscovado sugar
125g self raising flour
50g instant polenta
½ tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
3 Tbl milk
3 pieces of preserved ginger, finely diced
1 Tbl ginger syrup
2 Tbl golden syrup
zest of 1 lemon
2 tins of Ambrosia custard
Keep quartered, peeled and cored pears in some acidulated water (or just toss in juice) to prevent browning until ready to cut further.
Grease pudding basin. Slice ½ pear thinly and arrange overlapping in bottom of basin, coming slightly up the sides. Melt 20g of the butter and combine with the ginger syrup. Pour this mixture over the pear slices gently so as not to disturb them.
Cream remaining butter and sugar in food processor until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and whiz until combined. Don’t worry if the mixture looks split, it won’t affect the final product.
Finely dice remaining pears
Tip mixture from food processor into a large mixing bowl and stir in the zest, golden syrup, diced pear and preserved ginger.
Sift together flour, polenta, ground ginger and baking powder and gradually add to the wet mixture alternating with the milk until incorporated, then spoon into the basin and smooth top.
Put on lid and lower into a saucepan of boiling water that comes halfway up the sides. Put on lid of saucepan and steam very gently for at least 2 hours. The pudding is ready if it springs back when you press on it.
Turn out onto a large shallow bowl/plate, slice and serve with warm custard.
NB – if you don’t have an amazing pudding basin with a lid like mine, firstly I’d highly recommend you go out and buy one. Otherwise use a standard pudding basin (or several small ones) and place a piece of greased baking paper on top of a piece of foil, fold a pleat down the middle of both (to allow for some expansion if needed) then spread over the basin and tie around the rim with kitchen string (if you’re clever you can fashion a handle with the string across the top and you can then lift it by the string to place in the saucepan).