As a first attempt I made this recipe, I’d never heard of it and seemingly, google hadn’t very much either. Also, I’d never made suet pastry nor steamed anything more serious than a linen table cloth (we’ll come onto how I set the fire alarms off at a particularly high class country residence one day whilst steaming
at table cloth another time…) The signs were good.
This was one of the hand written recipes, rather than those printed in the book, and began thus:
- 5oz flour
- 2oz chopped suet
- boiler water to make elastic dough
- 1 lemon or orange (lemon preferred)
- brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
First off I greased two little pudding basins and made the suet pastry (the recipe literally says “make dough (using boiling water). Its quite stretchy and warm and kinda fun to handle. After I’d finished squishing it together, I divided it up into the basins, first in half, then into thirds. Two thirds were gently rolled then fitted into a lining in each basin. Then, having cut the heads and tails off the lemons, placed them upright in the middle of the lined bowl, before packing lightly with brown sugar. Wet the edge of the pastry at and sealing the top with the remaining third of pastry, crimping the edges together. To steam it, I covered the top with baking parchment and elastic banded it into place, before placing it in a simmering pan of water.
The recipe recommends 2-2.5 hours, which I failed to divide into smaller portions, or account for my electric oven not being solid fuel range. This resulted in somewhat rubbery pastry (I’m sure it shouldn’t be like that). Also, point of interest, elastic bands are hot when removed and may also ping off! But, otherwise, sealed and looking at least pudding like. It also turned out of the basin quite easily and retained its shape.
You can just see the upside of this: the lovely lemony syrup on the plate. The downside was the rubbery pastry (cooked too long I think) and some of the sugar setting into a block at the base of the pudding. It tasted pretty good, albeit a little tough, would probably be good with additional custard (what isn’t?), or a knob of butter inside the pastry with the lemon. And not being over cooked.
It did also illustrate how simple puddings, at least in terms of ingredients, were and how much longer they took to prepare. And, having calculated the calories and costs of this pudding, a cheap, but calorific pudding. Which, given that said great grandma was a farmers wife from 1901 on wards, seems quite reasonable.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours (one pudding), probably 1 hour for mini puddings.
5/10 (husband), 6/10 (mine)
Calories (approx) per portion:
If it was made into four portions: 301 calories
For two portions: 601 calories
Cost (per portion late 2015):
47p for the entire recipe
Likelihood of it being made again:
Not Very (according to my husband)