A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers: Traditional British Pudding

I joined a "cooking club" so to speak called "The Daring Kitchen".  You can either enroll as a Daring Baker or a Daring Cook, or both.  I joined as a Daring Baker. Each month a member of the club hosts the challenge and chooses a dish that everyone has to try. The host will tell you whether substitutions can be made and what exactly is required of you. So this was my very first challenge.  The challenge was unveiled to its members on the first of the month, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that I was up early on March 1st, logging onto the Daring Kitchen website to see what I had gotten myself into.  We have to reveal our results on our respective blogs on the 27th. They do blog checks to ensure that the participants have, in fact, participated and so there are mandatory lines we must include in our post and they are:
The April 2010 Daring Baker's challenge was hosted by Ester of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional ingredient: suet.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you about this fun little exercise. The idea was to try a traditional British Pudding - which meant steaming. Ester did allow that the participants use a suet substitute (lard, butter, oil etc.) but there was no getting around the steaming.  Admittedly, the recipe I chose from one of the permitted sources: The Pudding Club website was not exactly "traditional" but it did fulfill my obligations.  A lot of people chose a savoury version (i.e. steak and kidney pie) but that did nothing for me.  It was with much trepidation that I tackled this challenge, I've never steamed a dessert, but as it turns out, my fears were completely unfounded.  This was easy to throw together, and I'm thinking I may even do it again.  I don't have a proper pudding basin for steaming, and I was more confused by the diagrams and suggestions of make-shift steaming contraptions offered by the members of the club.  In the end, I pulled out a cheap ceramic bowl I'd bought at Ikea years ago, put a piece of pleated foil over it to allow for rising:
tied some butcher's twine around the neck (cause that's what everyone else was doing)
and then I stuck the bowl inside my metal steamer/colander; placed that over a pot of boiling water; and then waited with baited breath.
After an  hour and a half of steaming (I did use a lid), I had a delicious, moist and very chocolatey "pudding" (or cake to the rest of us) that looked like this:
What was all the fuss about?  I waited until the last possible day to do this challenge because I was so  unsure, but I was quite pleased with the final results.  Honestly, the idea of signing up for a club that basically forces me to try new things, things that I would probably never otherwise try, was really scary initially.  But now, I realize I was being silly.  Of course, I say that now, not knowing what the May challenge will be...I just hope it's something delicious that is worthy of being served at my Mother's Day dinner that I'm hosting
The only negative thing I'll say about this is that it's not exactly the most pretty dessert.  You can try to dress it up and make it look elegant (and I did try) but in the end, I settled on tossing it in a bowl with a scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream and calling it a day.
Now, if only I'd had some of that Chocolate Fudge Sauce left...
If you're interested in trying this out for yourself, check out this link: The Pudding Club


  1. Welcome to daring bakers! Your chocolate pudding looks great! I also made a version of the chocolate pudding and would agree it is more like a cake in my part of the world. I guess that's the fun of having bakers from all over, it gives us new techniques and recipes that we may not have known before. Great job on your first challenge!

  2. I like this chocolate version!

  3. What a beautiful chocolate studded pudding! You managed to get the best shot of your pudding, great job on the challenge!

  4. Hello and welcome to the Daring Bakers' and congratulations on your first challenge I hope you have many more happy experiences with us.

    That is one delicious looking pudding and yes English Puddings are more about the taste than the look of them. But I can see that the pudding is moist light and must be super tasty. Well done on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. Congratulations on completing your first DB challenge! I made a couple of suet puddings, but made this chocolate one too, because the suet ones were a bit weird!

  6. I'm really glad you joined in and enjoyed it. Our puddings and indeed much British food doesn't focus on looking pretty as much as many cultures it is true. Plus puddings are a very homely dish. That said we are very very fond of our puddings and it got many people to try a technique they wouldn't have tried otherwise and as you so rightly say that is what Daring Bakers is about.

  7. I think you pudding looks great! And home made vanilla ice cream? WOW!! Welcome to the Daring Kitchen! I hope you continue to have fun playing along with us!!

  8. mmm, that chocolate pudding sounds SO tasty! :)


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