Friday, February 19, 2010

A traditional English pudding

Pudding is one of those etymological oddities that means something very different in the UK and the US.  On this side of the pond it's sort of a sweet goop that usually comes from a boxed mix or a plastic cup. In the United Kingdom it can mean anything from a savory sausage to a heavy spiced cake splashed with brandy and set on fire.

This recipe uses a thick breadcrumb-based batter (so it's a bit like bread pudding) that gets steamed in a bowl for two hours.  The breadcrumbs are mixed with flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, butter and Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips.  Next time I might add a little vanilla and cinnamon.

I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread on Sunday, then ground it into breadcrumbs on Wednesday night by pushing it through the grating wheel on the food processor.  After making the breadcrumbs, the rest of the recipe was a piece of cake (or pudding?)!

The most fun part was assembling the pudding basin setup.  I scooped the batter into a buttered quart-size glass bowl and put a circle of parchment on top.  Then I covered that with a square of damp cloth and tied it securely under the lip of the bowl.  I picked up the hanging corners of the cloth and tied them over the top so that my glass batter bowl now had an adorable little handle.  The handle is for lifting the bowl into and out of the boiling water.

The recipe says to steam the pudding for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours - I left it in for two hours.  It was rather light, tasty and a little dry.  Enter the vanilla custard sauce!  I nicked the sauce recipe from a different dumpling recipe in this chapter (Milk-Steamed Buns with Vanilla Custard Sauce - stay tuned) it complements the chocolate pudding terrifically.  The sauce in the picture is caramel-colored because it is made with Rapadura instead of refined sugar.  Rapadura has a lovely caramel flavor too.

I wonder how this would turn out if I borrowed a bread pudding technique and let the batter sit overnight to let the dry bread absorb more moisture.  In that case I think I'd increase the milk.  Cheers!

1 comment:

storiteller said...

That sounds delicious. I didn't eat many desserts in Oxford, so I didn't get to try the variety of puddings available. But I did have them a couple of times at formal college dinners, and did become fond of the tradition of topping cake with fresh cream. Just what dessert needs - more fat!

Also, I'm quite happy that you've picked up the blog again. Chris is in culinary school now and it's fun seeing what different people are doing.