Daring Bakers: Cumberland Pudding

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to make a British style pudding.  The “special ingredient” was suet.  This was a bit of a problem for me as suet is not kosher (it is taken form a non-kosher section of the animal).  Conveniently there were vegetarian substitutes, and I used palm margarine instead.  The next challenge was how to cook this pudding.  I don’t have a pudding basin, and I didn’t have an earthenware bowl that I could substitute.  I thought about this problem all month.  I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to use a foil disposable deep round dish and steam it in my 10 liter soup pot.

I spent a few days looking at various different recipes for puddings, both savory and sweet.  I planned on making a sponge style Cumberland Pudding (which is basically an apple cake) and a steak and onion pudding with a suet crust and a meat filling.  My plan was to practice on the Cumberland pudding and then if it works, I was going to try the steak and onion pudding.

Unfortunately, after dropping the “pudding tin” into the soup pot, I couldn’t get the tin to sit straight, and my pudding came out lopsided, a little damp because some water came in.   So I decided to give up on making the steak and onion pie until after I get better pudding making equipment.

Here is my pudding batter resting for an hour (I didn’t put in currants and added extra apples):

This is still a very exciting technique, as it never occurred to me that you  could steam a cake.  I told my mom about it and she too, thought it was interesting.  I guess we are too American to even think that such a thing could exist.  Thank you Esther from The Lilac Kitchen for introducing this to us!

Look at that moisture:

This recipe is from All British Food. They have a whole bunch of pudding recipes – try them all!


Fat for greasing

2 cups (8 oz.) cooking apples

4 oz. shredded suet (or margarine)

2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

150 g currants

3/8 cup (75 g) light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

5 tbsp. milk

light brown sugar for dredging

Peel, core and roughly chop the apples.  Put them in a large bowl with the suet, baking powder, salt, currants, sugar and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Add the beaten eggs with enough milk to make a soft, dropping consistency.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Grease a 750 mL pudding basin.  Prepare a steamer or half-fill a large saucepan with water and boil.

Stir the pudding mixture, adding a little more milk if it is stiff.  Pour the mixture into the basin, cover with greased greaseproof paper or foil and secure with string.  Put the pudding in the perforated part of the steamer, or stand it on a plate in the saucepan of boiling water.  The water should come halfway up the sides of the basin.  Cover the saucepan tightly and steam the pudding over gently simmering water for 1 3/4 to 2 hours.

Leave the pudding for 5-10 minutes at room temperature to firm up, then turn out to a serving plate.  Dredge with brown sugar before serving.

Recipes from the Daring Bakers’ site:

Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.

Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):


(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.

4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are given below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.

Savoury Pudding Filling options: steak and kidney pudding.

1 full amount of suet crust (see recipe above)
(450 grams/about 1 pound) Chuck steak
(225 grams/about 1/2 a pound) Ox kidney
1 medium-sized onion
2 teaspoons well-seasoned flour
splash of Worcestershire sauce

1. Chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes, toss them in seasoned flour, then add them to the pastry lined basin.
2. Pop the onion slices in here and there.
3. Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and sprinkle in a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
4. Follow the rest of the instructions in the crust recipe to finish pudding.
5. Cook for at least 2.5 hours (Mrs Beeton) up to 5 hours (Delia Smith).

Sweet Pudding Options: Sussex Pond Pudding

1 amount of suet pastry (see recipe above)
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) Demerara Sugar
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the basin with half the sugar.
2. Prick the whole lemon (preferably one with a thin skin) all over, using a thick skewer.
3. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the basin.
4. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
5. Finish building the pudding as per the pastry recipe.
6. Steam for 3 ½ hours, or longer (for a really tender lemon), adding more water if needed.
7. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out.
8. Make sure each person is served some of the suet crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.

Type 2 puddings – Steamed Suet Pudding, sponge type.

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2 pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.


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