Steamed puddings are simple to make, although this gentle method of indirect steaming does take longer than baking in a conventional oven. The basic recipe, which is a creamed sponge, can be adapted to include fruits or spices, and offers the creative cook the opportunity to experiment. Assembled well in advance to cook slowly, this is the ideal comfort pudding to round off a leisurely dinner in cold weather, when you want to avoid last minute preparation. Just don’t allow the pan to boil dry!
1. A makeshift trivet in place (to keep the base of the basin off the bottom of the saucepan).
2. Pleating the foil that will cover the pudding.
3. Buttering the doubled greaseproof paper.
4. Covering the pudding with the buttered greaseproof paper.
5. Covering the top of the pudding basin with the sheet of foil.
6. Tying the string under the rim of the basin to hold the foil cover firmly in place.
7. Creating a handle from the excess string to make it easier to lift the pudding from the pan.
8. Trimming away the excess greaseproof paper.
9. Tucking the foil border up over the paper.
- Put a trivet into a large saucepan (big enough to easily hold the pudding basin) that has a tight-fitting lid. Alternatively, use a folded piece of thick cardboard or a cardboard egg carton (trimmed to fit). This will keep the base of the pudding basin off the bottom of the saucepan, which is its hottest part.
- Cut out one sheet of foil and 2 sheets of greaseproof paper, at least twice the diameter of the top of the pudding basin. Make a small pleat, about 3cm wide, in the middle of the foil.
- Put one sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the other and make a similar pleat. Lightly butter one side of the double greaseproof paper. Cut a piece of string, the length of your open arms.
- Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and level it out. Place the greaseproof paper buttered side down on top of the pudding basin.
- Cover with the sheet of foil and push it down and around the top rim of the pudding basin.
- Fold the string in half and place the doubled string around the pudding basin under the lip, over the foil. Feed the cut ends between the folded end and tighten the string. Separate the 2 cut ends and bring each string around the pudding basin, still under the lip, then tie tightly in a knot.
- Hold the 2 strings together, take them over the pudding basin to the other side and tuck them through the string on the other side, leaving the ends loose to create a handle for lifting the pudding. Tie the string securely.
- Lift up the foil around the string to expose the greaseproof paper and trim the paper fairly close to the string. Trim the foil to leave a 3–4cm border.
- Tuck the foil around the greaseproof paper towards the lip of the pudding basin, ensuring all the greaseproof paper is enclosed in the foil. Your pudding is now ready for steaming.