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. Additionally, Esther wanted us to make our puddings using the process of steaming.
Well to be honset this was not what I thought my first daring bakers challenge with the http://thedaringkitchen.com would be about. Although it did not take me long to realize that this would indeed be quite a challenge for me. Actually there were many challenges that I stumbled into along the way. Overall, I am so glad that Esther chose this for my first Daring Baker Challenge because I probably would have never made a Traditional British Pudding on my own in addition to using suet for baking.
1st challenge ( as many will surely agree)
What is suet and where can I buy it?
Definition of suet: is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys (according to wikipedia)
Hmmm… okay so it is fat.
I learned that in the United States suet can be purchased at a butcher or a grocery store behind the meat counter. The first time I purchased the suet I was quite relieved when they knew what I was talking about because I had no idea how I was going to try and explain it! I had visited Whole Foods and it turns out that I was lucky they had it on hand and were able to give me some right then. I learned by visiting two other times and aksing if they had any suet that it was something that I needed to call ahead about to make sure they put some aside. Which definately made sense to me because who else would be wanting to buy suet….lesson learned. The other place that I went to check for suet was our local Pennsylvania Dutch Market. I went up to the butcher counter and asked if they had suet. The lady said yes and when she asked how much I was so excited that I just said 3-5 lbs! I know that it may sound like alot and when I was carrying my 5 lb bag of suet to the car it sure felt like alot. You see the tricky thing about purchasing suet is that when you render it down to make tallow it does not yield the same amount you started with.
How to render the suet and make tallow?
This is the part that I was really nervous about. I think it had to do with the fact that I would be working with hot oil and could burn myself. Although I was also unsure of what everything was supposed to look like during the process and how exactly the rendering was done. Luckily, this link http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/2008/04/how-to-cook-with-beef-tallow/ was posted in our Daring Bakers forum and boy was it a blessing! I really liked that it had a step by step process with pictures showing how to render the suet into tallow. After I had my suet and I also ended up purchasing a rice press, I was ready to begin rendering.
Oh I have made puddings before….but not this kind?!
I have made two types of puddings in my life. One being Jello pudding from the box mix. The other is one of my favorites a chocolate malt pudding from scratch. After both of those kinds are heated they get put into the refrigerator before you eat them. So this type of Traditional British Pudding was a new thing to me altogether. It did not require heating on the stove, never needed refrigeration, and depending on the kind you made was either like a sponge cake or had a crust with soup like contents inside. Also, the pudding could either be sweet or savory. I decided to lean towards the sweet side!
How should the pudding be covered and how long will it take?
I do own a steamer and I have bought the steamed vegetables in a microwaveable bag. Love them! Usually I steam vegetables with the steamer. I had never used the steamer or the process of steaming to cook something that typically goes into the oven to get baked. This pudding steaming process worried me quite a bit. I read that if I did not have my pudding covered properly then water could get in and my pudding could be ruined! I guess what I forgot to mention is that sometimes the steaming process can take up to 5 hours to cook. Now maybe you understand my fear a little better……
My two Traditional British Puddings that I made and the challenges I overcame when making them!
Banana and Burnt Butter Pudding
Recipe Adapted from BBC Good Food
I chose this recipe first because I wanted to make sure that I had the steaming process figured out before I used a recipe with suet. Unfortunately, I am realizing while I am typing this that I did not convert any of the grams on my recipe into cups or tablespoons. I promise to update that later.
70 g – Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Large – Bananas
3 Tbsp – golden syrup, plus more for pouring
( I instead used half light corn syrup and half honey)
75 g – self-rising flour
1/2 tsp – baking powder
pinch of – salt
50 g – caster sugar (substituted granulated sugar)
1/2 lemon – zested
1 – egg
Serves 2-3 and is Ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes
1) Melt butter in a pan and keep heating until it browns. As soon as it reaches a deep gold color remove the pan from the heat. Then let the butter cool.
2) Slice 1 of the bananas and cut the other banana half into cubes. Butter two small pyrex dishes or heat proof dishes with the browned butter. Put 1 1/2 Tbsp. of golden syrup and 3 tsp. of browned butter into into each dish. Place the banana slices in the bottom of each dish.
3) Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and the sugar. Beat in the egg and lemon zest followed by the browned butter and cubed banana.
4) Divide the mixture between the two dishes and cover each with a pleated piece of greased foil tied on very tightly with a string.
5) Steam for 45 minutes or until the pudding has risen and is firm to touch.
*Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of how I set up my steaming process but I can try to explain it. I had a very big pot that I placed my metal steamer into the bottom. Then I placed my pudding dish onto the steamer and filled up the water to halfway on my pudding dish. Then I placed the lid on the pot and placed the heat setting so that it was constantly heating and steaming. Make sure to constantly watch the water level as it is steaming and keep the water level where it began.*
4) When the pudding is finished, place the dish upside down onto a plate and the pudding should come out. Serve the pudding with a little more syrup. Oh yummy!
Rendering of the Suet
1) Here is what suet looks like if purchased from the meat department.
2) Take your suet and chop into cube size pieces. Then place into a deep pan and fill with water to just cover the suet.
3) Heat the suet and water to a boil. Then turn the heat down to low until all the water has evaporated and all that is left is fat and suet pieces.
4) While the suet is being rendered down set up the equipment to get the fat out of the suet pieces. Line a colander with a few pieces of paper towels and place something under the colander to collect the rendered suet or tallow. I purchased a rice press to squeeze out all the fat from the suet pieces as well.
5) Once the rendered suet or tallow is collected, store it in the refrigerator to harden.
6) Now you have suet to use for baking a steaming pudding!
Unfortunately, the 2 Steamed Puddings that I made with my homemade suet did not turn out probably because I tried to use a splenda sugar mixture instead of sugar so I will just give you a sneak peak and leave it at that!
Rasberry Orange Roly-Poly Wanna Be
Baked Fruity Atumn Pudding to Try Again…
Baked Rhubarb and Plum Pudding
Recipe Adapted from BBC Good Food
*Thankfully, at this point my mom and her friend had found me a pudding steamer for $3 at TJMaxx*
450g – Mixed Rhubarb and Plum
2 Tbsp – Butter
200g – Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. – Cinnamon
300 g – self-rising flour
140 g – lard
1 lemon – zest
Serves 4-6 and Total Time until Finishesd 2 1/2 hours
1) Grease the inside of a pudding steamer. Cut 2 strips of parchment paper and lay them up the sides of the pudding steamer making a cross in the center. Make sure that the strips allow some overhang to aid in pulling out the pudding when finished. Greased the steamer again.
2) To make the filling chop the rhubarb and plums into cube size pieces. Add the butter, broken into bits, 125 g of the sugar and cinnamon. Stir and put to the side.
*Make sure to not use the rhubarb leaves or roots since these are toxic if consumed!*
3) Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard and remaining sugar and lemon zest. Add a few drops of water, working it through with a knife, and keep adding the water until you have a soft dough.
*Probably because of using the lard I had to add more flour and sugar to get the right consistentcy of dough.*
4) Using your hand form the dough into a smooth ball. Place onto a lightly floured surface and separate the dough into a larger 3/4 portion part and a smaller 1/4 portion part. Roll the larger portion into a circle and then place into the bottom of the pudding steamer. Press the dough up the sides of the basin until their is a slight overhang of dough.
5) Next, place the rhubarb and plum filling into the pudding steamer covered with the dough.
6) Roll out the other 1/4 of the dough to make a lid. Place the lid on top and press the pastry edges together to firmly seal. Tuck the protruding flaps of the parchment paper down onto the pastry.
7) Place greased parchment paper on top and fit the pudding steamer lid on tightly. Place into a deep big pot with a towel underneath for the steaming process. Pour water about 2/3 of the way up the pudding steamer.
8. Steam for about 2 hours and topped off with water if the water level seems to get low.
9) Remove the pudding steamer lid and release the edges of the pudding using the parchment paper tabs. Invert the pudding onto a plate.
Enjoy your pudding!
Thank you once again to Esther of The Lilac Kitchen for such a challenging 1st Daring Baker Challenge!