Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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.
Sigh. Where to begin? I could start out by saying, hi, my name is Michele and I'm a vegetarian.
You can imagine my thrill when I saw the secret ingredient for this month's challenge! Suet? Do you know what suet is? It's what my mother-in-law puts out for the birds to eat after trimming the meat on a holiday. If you Google the definition, you learn that suet is the "hard fat around the kidneys and loins in beef and sheep".
I feel nauseous.
I tried to read through the recipe that Esther suggested we use for this month's challenge and quickly stopped reading when I got to "steak and ox kidney's."
I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
When I hear "pudding", ox kidney's and hard fat are not the two things I would usually think of (okay, well, maybe fat in the sense that if I eat too much pudding, it will result in that.... but not necessarily the fat removed from one animal and then ingested by me!).
Apparently in London, they have more than one definition of "pudding".
1) Black pudding and white pudding a sort of meat and grain sausage. Black pudding uses blood as well as meat.
2) Pudding — a generic word for dessert.
3) Pudding — any dish cooked in a pudding bowl or pudding cloth normally steamed, boiled but sometimes baked.
4) An endearment i.e., "How are you today my pudding?"
I'm so glad I don't live in London. I only know pudding in the sense of definition number two.
However, this challenge required us to use pudding in the form of definition number three.
Thank goodness it wasn't number one. Or even number four.... if my husband called me his "pudding", I'd have to resort back to the time when I would use food as pet names for him and I would surprise him by using them in the notes I left on his napkins that I would tuck into his lunch bag for him to find at work... with all the guy's around.... but that's a whole 'nother story!
Definition number two, I could handle. The ingredients? Not so much.
Thankfully Esther found a few recipes for people like me-- that still allowed us to cook using the new method, but allowed us to use ingredients that were more friendly to those that don't care to eat the organs of animals. Or the fat of animals. Or just animals! *Shudder*
So here is the recipe I used, along with some pictures. My children loved it. My husband didn't even try it (the longer it sat, the darker the rhubarb got and did look a little odd.... maybe he thought I still snuck some kidney's into it or something?).
I'm sure the texture of my British Pudding is nothing like the texture of the recipe that was meant to be the challenge recipe, but it tasted pretty good nonetheless. It was very dense and moist. The only change I made was that I used cinnamon instead of ginger. I thought that would taste better.
If you'd like to take a peek at the original challenge recipe, check out Esther's blog: here Otherwise, here is the one I made:
3 cups fresh rhubarb cut into 4cm lengths
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground ginger (I used cinnamon)
10 tbsp unsalted butter
few drops natural vanilla extract
2 medium eggs , beaten
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
Cook the rhubarb with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the ginger over a gentle heat for 2-3minutes until just starting to soften. Remove from heat.
Grease a 900ml pudding basin.
I just used a 2 quart heat-safe bowl.
Put butter and remaining sugar in a bowl and cream together. Stir in vanilla extract, then beat in eggs, a little at a time. Sift in flour and carefully fold into the mixture.
Spoon rhubarb into the bottom of the basin, then spoon the sponge mixture on top and level off surface.
Butter a piece of greaseproof paper slightly bigger than the top of the pudding basin. Make a pleat in the centre and secure over the top of basin. Repeat with a piece of foil, then secure the whole thing with string.
Place a steaming rack or a heat-safe bowl (or even some crumpled up aluminum foil) into a pan. This will hold your pudding bowl off of the bottom of the pan, ensuring that it will be "steamed". You'll need a large pan; one that is large enough to hold the pudding bowl up but still have a lid on it. Fill the pan half-way with water and put onto stove to simmer.
Once simmering, place the prepared dish onto the steaming rack (I just used a smaller bowl) and place lid on pan.
It's okay if the water goes up the side of the pudding bowl a little bit- just make sure it's not any higher than 1/3 of the way up.
Cover and cook for 1½ hrs, checking regularly that the pan does not boil dry. Add more steaming water carefully, if necessary.
Remove cover, invert the pudding onto a plate, then carefully lift off the pudding basin. Serve with crème fraîche or single cream.