Steamed puddings are old-fashioned desserts that were common in England before households had reliable ovens. Steamed puddings lie somewhere in the middle of the cake–pudding continuum—neither as light and airy as a cake, nor as silky and moist as a modern pudding. We loved its unique texture when we tried it! This recipe is based on the original recipe in the book ‘Anglo-Indian Food and Customs‘ by Patricia Brown. We turned what was originally a carrot steamed pudding into a ginger pudding by adding ginger—both paste and candied. We also changed the proportions to match the sweetness and the texture that we wanted.
Steamed puddings are commonly served with a custard sauce—crème anglaise—which we decided to infuse with tea. The idea of a ginger pudding with a tea sauce sounded perfect, and to our surprise it really works!
Steamed puddings are traditionally made in pudding basins, which are made of metal or ceramic. Some have lids and some—like the one we are using—need to be covered with a foil and baking paper with a pleat that allows the pudding to expand. It also has a lip which lets you tie a string around it and create a sling with which the pudding pot can be safely lowered into and retrieved from the pot of boiling water.
If you enjoy the history of food and are not afraid to try something new you should try this recipe.
- 115 g salted butter (softened)
- 175 g brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 limes (juice of 1, zest of 2)
- ¼ tsp gorom moshla
- 30 g fresh ginger paste
- ¼ tsp salt
- 120 g plain flour (maida)
- ½tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100 g carrot (grated)
- 100 g candied ginger (5-mm pieces)
For the tea custard
- 150 g milk
- 1 pc cardamom
- 5 g ginger (sliced)
- 10 g tea
- 3 egg yolks
- 50 g sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 250 g heavy cream
- ¼ cup brandy (optional; for flambé)
Making the pudding
- Grease the pudding dish with butter, and line its bottom with baking paper.
- Cut a baking paper to the shape of the bottom of your pudding basin. Line your pudding mould with the paper.
- Sift together plain flour (maida), baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Zest the two large limes. Don’t get to the white pith—it is bitter!
- Peel and grate the carrots.
- Chop the candied ginger into small 5-mm pieces.
- Grind fresh ginger. You will need 30 grams of this paste for this recipe.
- In another mixing bowl whisk the room-temperature butter until it is soft.
- Add the brown sugar and whisk until pale and airy.
- Whisk in three eggs one at a time, taking care to mix one in thoroughly before adding the next.
- Now add the flavouring agents—lemon zest, gorom moshla, and ginger paste to the mixture.
- Squeeze the juice of one large lemon into the mix and whisk everything together.
- Bring a kettle of water to boil. We will need this water to steam the pudding.
- Next add the dry-ingredients mixture, grated carrots, and candied ginger to the wet mixture. Fold gently with a spatula to mix everything evenly. Don’t over-mix so as to not develop too much gluten.
- The pudding batter can now be poured into the buttered and lined mould.
- Cover the pudding basin with the pleated foil-baking paper lid. Tie a strong cotton twine all around below the lip of the basin. Now use another twine to create a sling.
- Pour the boiling water into a large pot placed on the stove. Lower the pudding basin into the boiling water using the sling for safety. Pour more boiling water into the pot to bring the water upto two-third of the height of the basin.
- Cover with a fitted lid and let this simmer on the stovetop. Make sure to refill with more water if the water level goes down a lot.
- After 1 hour 45 minutes take out the pudding basin using the sling. Uncover the lid and let it cool for two hours before unmoulding.
Making the custard
- Brew strong, dark tea with the given quantity of milk, cardamom, ginger and tea. Strain and allow it to cool completely.
- In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, salt and sugar.
- Pour in the heavy cream and tea and mix it in.
- Now transfer the saucepan on to very gently heat and cook the custard until is is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
- Transfer into a bowl. Cover the top with cling film to prevent skin from forming over the custard. Refrigerate.
For the flambé
- Unmould the pudding and set it on your serving dish.
- In a shallow pan, pour brandy. Very carefully, tilt it towards the flame until it catches. Pour this flaming liquid over pudding. The alcohol will eventually burn off leaving behind the flavour.
- Cut a slice and serve it with the tea-infused custard.