Traditional British Pudding (Daring Bakers Challenge April 2010)

Chocolate pudding

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.

Being British, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never made a single steamed pudding in my life! By the end of this months challenge I will have made 13 puddings in total. I have to admit my first 4 attempts were disastrous!  Live & learn… I did however manage to make 6 successful sponge type puddings, 2 roly poly’s, 1 crust pudding – I became somewhat addicted! As an ex veggie, I still was repulsed by the idea of suet so opted for the vegetarian version. I couldn’t get to grips with this & my puddings turned out like heavy lumps of clay. So I replaced the suet with butter, which gave much better results.

I decided to take an untraditional take on the traditional, whilst keeping in tradition…you’ll see what I mean. I looked at a few of britian’s favourite dishes – fish & chips, toad in the hole, chicken tikka masala….so here are my savoury sponge puds!

Battered pollock & pea pudding (using beer & onion muffin breadcrumbs)

Pork sausage & apple pudding with onion gravy (using cheese scone breadcrumbs)

Chicken tikka masala (using naan breadcrumbs)

I then went into roly-poly madness

Cheese & pickle roly poly (I grated cheddar into the dough)

Custard cream, apple & cinnamon roly poly (custard powder added to the dough

And now for more something more conventional…

Chocolate pudding
the best chocolate pudding I’ve EVER tasted! Recipe from Waitrose

Jaffa cake pudding

Lemon curd pudding

And finally…

Sweet potato tagine crust pudding

(I tried hard to think of a tenuous link to Britishness but failed to come up with anyting here, apart from the fact that there are loads of moroccan delis & bars around where I live…)

This was a great challenge, really quick & easy to do so loads of room for experimentation. I have to lock my pudding bowl away as I’m thinking I’m going out of control!

Traditional British pudding
Recipe Source: Recipes come from the following sources: Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, The pudding club (, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and the Dairy Book of Home Cooking and my family’s recipe notes!

Notes: Fresh suet should be kept in the fridge or do what I do and freeze it. I crumble off what I want as I go straight from the freezer. The boxed stuff can live in the cupboard.
The easiest way to steam a pudding is in a dedicated steamer as the water is kept away from the pudding so it can’t boil over. If, however, you don’t have a steamer use a pan large enough to easily fit the bowl you are cooking. Don’t fill the water more than about a third of the way up the bowl or it may boil over and into the bowl. Keep an eye and top up as needed with boiling water.
You need to lift the bowl off the bottom of the pan. This can be done with a steamer stand, an upturned plate or even crumpled up kitchen foil — anything that can stand being in boiling water and lifts the bowl off the bottom of the pan will work.
Make sure you have a well-fitted lid on the pan as you want the steam to cook the pudding not to boil off.
Make sure you put a pleat in the foil or paper you cover the bowl with to allow for expansion and then tie down tightly with string.

Preparation time: Preparation time is 5 to 20 minutes depending on the filling. Cooking time is 1 to 5 hours so do this on a day you have jobs around the house to do or are popping in and out as you need to occasionally check the pan hasn’t boiled dry! However it is otherwise a very low time requirement dish.

Equipment required:
• 2 pint (1 litre) pudding bowl or steam-able containers to contain a similar amount they should be higher rather than wide and low
• Steamer or large pan, ideally with a steaming stand, upturned plate or crumpled up piece of kitchen foil
• Mixing bowl
• Spoon
• Measuring cups or scales
• Foil or grease proof paper to cover the bowl
• String

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 give 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.

This one is a steak and onion one cooked for 1.5 hours.
This sort of pastry can also be used as a topping for a baked meat pie and becomes quite a light crusty pastry when baked.

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/ 2pint 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.

11 responses to “Traditional British Pudding (Daring Bakers Challenge April 2010)

  1. Thank you for finding that recipe for chocolate sponge from Waitrose – I’ve been looking for a decent one for ages and came up blank. Great!


  2. AN amazing number of puddings but the standout must be the pea pudding it looks so moist soft and delicious love the colours of the pea and the red on top. Superb effort and yes I went crazy on this challenge and did 16 different types such an easy way to make food. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia. Wonderful pictures also. Bravo bravo bravo.

  3. Says your blog title “creative recipes” and you were more than that! Love the savory ones, specially the one with the peas! I’ll save these and try it soon!

  4. 13 puddings! wow… That custard cream, apples and cinnamon roly poly looks heavenly! Amazing work, and I love that this challenge was something new for you, too, not just us silly Americans!

  5. Those are so great! Ignore my question on the DB forum, as I have had it answered by checking your blog. I was thinking that this would be a great cooking technique for camping. You’ve inspired me to do some serious experimentation!

  6. Great job baking so many varieties of puddings! I only did three and felt like I topped out for the time being. Nice work!

  7. What an amazing array of puddings! I can confirm that the Waitrose chocolate pudding was really delicious. The tagine pudding had the most delectable crust. The roly-polys were great as well. I’m sure you’ll be making more puddings in the future!

  8. Wow fabulous and I love the twist you put on many of them, such fun.. Cheese and pickle rolly polly sounds fabulous!

    You gave Audax a run for his money on the quantity of puddings you did and that takes some doing ! Thankyou for joining in with such enthusiasum.

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