Sunday, 22 November 2015

Jam steamed sponge pudding

Today is my birthday but, as I’ve been really busy the last few days (lunches, cocktails, even the opera daaaaaaahling), I find myself in the position of having precisely zero birthday cakes. I know!!! I will rectify this shameful situation when I have time (an interesting ginger concoction has caught my eye) but for now all I really fancied was a steamed sponge pudding.

Whenever I post a steamed sponge I get requests for a step by step in pictures.  My method is considered old fashioned now, in that I place a steamer above a pan of simmering water; the modern method seems to be to place an upturned bowl or saucer in the bottom of the pan containing the water to elevate the pudding.  This is not the way I do it but, if you’re interested, the BBC Goodfood website has two tutorials:

I have metal pudding bowls with clip on lids.  I bought them from Amazon almost 10 years ago and find them so much less faff than glass pyrex dishes where you have to make a pleated lid out of baking paper and foil, and then tie it up with string making a handle at the same time.  I have never been dextrous with knots.  The second tutorial link above covers the paper and string method. (NB.  Amazon don’t seem to stock them anymore but they do have a different range of lidded pudding basins if you search the site)

Compared to making a sponge mix, spooning it into a cake tin and baking in the oven for 30 minutes or so steaming could look like a lot of time and effort but please, please, please give it a try.  Firstly, it’s no more time to prep the pudding for steaming than it is a cake for the oven, and while the cooking time is a lot longer you don’t really need to do anything during that time.  Nothing that comes out of the oven will ever match a steamed sponge in terms of lightness.  It’s like eating spongey air.

I grease my pudding bowl and place the jam in the bottom:

Spoon in the batter:

Clip on the lid.  Place in the steamer, over a pan of simmering water:

Leave for 1.5 – 2 hours.  It’s not precise like a baking time and the pudding won’t suffer for being left to steam longer than actually needed to cook it so don’t feel pressured by the cooking time or guess when it’s ready.  I always give it two hours.

Turn out and enjoy!

NB. Do not adjust your monitor – I did serve rather large portions.  In my defence it was my birthday and freezing cold; I feel either of these facts alone would excuse me but - together - form a rock solid argument.  A pudding this size will serve 6 people easily....just because I cut it into quarters doesn’t mean you have to!


4 tablespoons jam – whichever flavour you prefer
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
115g self raising flour
1-2 tablespoons milk

To serve: custard


Place a large saucepan on the hob and fill 3/4s with water – test that the steamer basket will not touch the water.  Bring the water to a gentle simmer while you are making the pudding.

Grease, with butter, an 850ml pudding bowl (either metal, ceramic or heatproof glass).  If it has a lid, grease that too.

Spoon the jam into the bottom of the pudding bowl.

Now make the sponge: beat together the butter and sugar until light and whippy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Stir in the flour.

Beat in enough milk to ensure a light dropping consistency.

Spoon into the pudding bowl and level the surface.

Clip on the lid or, if your bowl doesn’t have a lid, cover the bowl with a piece of baking paper and a piece of foil, pleated across the middle to allow for expansion.  If you are using the paper/foil option tie string around the bowl to keep it in place and then loop the string over the top to make a handle, which will help you lift the pudding out of the steamer.

Place the steamer basket over the pan of simmering water.

Place the pudding bowl in the steamer basket and place the lid on top to ensure the pudding is enclosed in it’s own personal sauna!

Leave to steam for anywhere between 1.5-2 hours; I always leave it for two hours.

The water level may need topping up after the first hour – it depends on the size of the saucepan.  Simply boil a kettle of water and then lift the steamer basket off of the pan, top up the water lever, and replace the steamer basket – this will not hurt your pudding at all.

Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn out onto a plate.

Serve with custard.

Wrap any left over pudding in foil and enjoy the next day – it reheats like a dream in either the oven or the microwave.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Lisa from @intotheglade said...

Happy Birthday Lovely!! Pudding looks delicious xx

Gloria Baker said...

Happy birthday dear !
Look delicious :) :)

Jean said...

Happy birthday!
Oh how I love a steamed pudding. The thing that puts me off making one is the faffing with greaseproof paper and string. Your lidded bowl definitely looks easier and the pudding looks glorious.

Maggie said...

Happy Birthday! We also love steamed puddings - the basins sound much less of a faff!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Snowy said...

Happy Birthday from me too. I loved steam puddings and they are just the thing for this cold weather.

sensibilia said...

Eee - no cake on your birthday? But steamed sponge is such a great comfort food.
Happy birthday!

Tyana said...

Happy Birthday!

Never made a steam pudding before, though I have a pudding bowl with a proper lid. Thanks for step-by-step photo, at least now I have better idea how to make this.

Cakelaw said...

Happy belated birthday! I love steamed pud of all kinds, and this one looks fabulous.

Jo said...

Happy belated birthday! A jammy, steamed pudding is the perfect way to celebrate on a cold day. The texture looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday CC!
I had never heard about a steamed pudding before, but if it is your bday choice, must be outstanding, can't wait to try it!

Stuart Vettese said...

Belated Happy Birthday CC! This recipe takes me right back to my childhood. Lovely :)

Choclette Blogger said...

Ooh, I do love a good steamed pudding. I've never made it either the way you do it or the modern way. I follow in my mother's and grandmother's footsteps and use a plain white pudding basin, tied up with string and greaseproof paper then place it in a saucepan of water directly - then simmer away with a lid on.

Sounds like you might have had a fabulous birthday even without cake.

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Happy Birthday CC! Stuff the cake..... I'd be happy with a steamed pud!
I haven't made a steamed pud since going gluten free, but we always used a china pudding basin with baking paper or foil over the top, popped in boiling water. It was the method my mother always used and it never let me down!

Muna Kenny said...

Oh my God, this looks amazing! So spongy and moist, heavenly.