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.
The challenge Esther set for us this month is to try a very British dish and a very British ingredient.
The actual recipes (I am giving you a choice) are pretty simple really but the cooking method and the core ingredient are something that many people do not use or do on a regular basis if at all.
Some of you will know about the British and the word pudding but for those that don't we use the word for many things:
1) Black pudding and white pudding a sort of meat and grain sausage. Black pudding uses blood as well as meat.
2) Pudding — a generic word for desert
3) Pudding — any dish cooked in a pudding bowl or pudding cloth normally steamed, boiled but sometimes baked.
4) An endearment i.e., "How are you today my pudding?"
For this challenge we are using the third meaning a dish cooked in a pudding bowl or cloth, though many of you may opt to do a sweet version in which case version two also applies!
The special ingredient is suet. Please, please don't worry if you can't get it. I will be suggesting alternatives but if you want to stretch yourselves and try some very traditional British dishes do try and source some as it does make a difference to the texture and Daring Bakers is all about trying things you wouldn't normal do or use. Please remember there are alternatives so please don’t worry if you can’t get or don’t want to use suet !
So what is suet?
It is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body. Suet in its raw form crumbles easily into small chunks so much so that my butcher says it covers his floor in bits if he doesn't have it taken out as soon as possible. In fact unless he knows he has a customer for it he has the abattoir take it out and throw it away and when I want some he gives it to me for free! It also melts at quite a low temperature, which has an effect on how it works in cooking. In some places such as the UK it is sold processed which basically means it is grated and combined with flour to keep the individual pieces from clumping together, and it becomes a sort of dried out short strands, almost granular in texture.
[Eat4Fun: No luck finding suet so I used shortening.]
Mandatory elements of this challenge are:
1) to make a suet pudding using real suet or as close a replacement as you can manage or is acceptable to you; and
2) to cook it by steaming or if you want to be even more traditional by boiling tied up in a cloth.
Recipe Source: Recipes come from the following sources: Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, The pudding club (www.puddingclub.com), Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and the Dairy Book of Home Cooking and my family’s recipe notes!
[Eat4Fun: Many recipes were given for this challenge and I decided to make the steamed sponge pudding - Spotted Dick. For the full list of recipes see the Daring Kitchen or Esther's blog, The Lilac Kitchen]
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 [used whole wheat sliced French bread]
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar [used regular granulated sugar.]
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard) [75 g of Crisco turned out to be about 7T]
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk
Spotted Dick - Add 75g/ 3oz currants and 25g/1 oz of mixed chopped peel with the sugar [Wasn't sure if chopped peel referred to candied or zest. I used about 1/2 t of zest.].
1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
[Since I used shortening, I treated the dry ingredients, plus the sugar, and the shortening like I would a pie crust. First the dry ingredients are pulsed in a food processor to "sift" the ingredients. Next, the shortening is added an pulsed until combined.]
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet [sugar and fat was used in step 1].
[For breadcrumbs, I used whole wheat bread. The reasoning was to add some color and texture to the steamed pudding.]
[After a few pulses, coarse breadcrumbs!]
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
[The recipe reminded me of bread pudding... so instead of milk I used heavy cream.]
[Since I was making Spotted Dick, I next added the currants. Tiny raisins the size of a BB pellet.]
[I wasn't sure what chopped peel referred to... candied citrus peel or zest? I used about 1/2 t of lemon zest.]
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
[As I was going through the cabinets looking for a bowl, I found a rectangular glass dish with a glass lid. Looked perfect for the job and I didn't have to worry about covering the batter.]
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
[For a steamer, I used my improvised wok steamer. The wok has a large dome lid so I'm able to cover the setup completely.]
[After 3 hours, we have a sponge pudding!]
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.
[The spotted dick was turned out onto a serving dish.]
[I viewed this as a bread pudding so I knew (or had it stuck in my mind) that I wanted to to a rum sauce for the dessert. Thumbing through one of my cookbooks, I found a Creme Anglaise recipe which called for vanilla and liqueur. My liqueur of choice is rum.
Slices were served with rum Creme Anglaise.]
[My first ever bite of Spotted Dick and British pudding in general.]
I wasn't sure what to expect from this challenge. Suet in a dessert dish and steaming on top of that lead to some apprehension on my part.
However, the end results turned out very nice, reminded me of a very rich (from the shortening) and moist (from the steaming) quick bread, such as, zucchini bread, but with currants/raisins instead of zucchini.
Also, the rum Creme Anglaise was a nice complement to the dessert.
Overall, a surprisingly tasty challenge.