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.
I have been officially approved as a member of the DB few days before April the first, which is also my birthday and I eagerly awaited the publication of the first task, hoping for some lovely cake.
When I read the assignment I thought it is some kind of an April first joke.
It was not.
The problem was how to tell it to my daughter Timna, because the first thing she wanted to know after I told her that we have been approved as DB, what is the challenge?
“Traditional British pudding”, I said.
“No, not puding, a pudding”, I replied.
I have opened Norma McMillan english version cookbook “Cooking for all occasions”, with a recipe and picture of Steak and kidney pudding. Her English is after five years of learning, good enough, that before I had a chance to explain further, she asked, “You know what means the kidney?”
“Of course I know what means the kidney”, I started to laugh.
“And what happened with cakes?”, she continued.
“Now, when we became a DB, no cakes, only kidneys?”
And I still did not mention the suet. (loj in Croatian) So, I started again. “You know”, I said, “the real challenge is not a kidney, but the suet.”
“What????? OK., mum, you’ve got me! April the first, right? Aprili-li-li-li?”
“I’m afraid not. And I thought so, but it isn’t.”
“The suet and kidneys!”
“Our first DB challenge and no gorgeous cakes, just suet and kidney”, she started with self-pity.
“C’mon, it is not that bad”, I tried to cheer her up. “We are allowed to use lard (salo in Croatian) or butter instead of a suet.”
“Those lard”, she asked, “which you hardly got and promised me you gonna make a Salenjaci (Puff pastry, made of lard instead of butter) of it?”
She never ate a Salenjaci and I told her that I ate them in childhood, and how it’s much better than the puff pastry with butter.
“Listen, there is enough of lard for some kind of Pudding and also for Salenjaci. I promised you and I will make a Salenjaci,” I tried to finish the conversation.
“And what about kidney?”, she didn’t give up.
“I don’t know, I said. Something I will come up.”
I read everything Easther put as a guideline. I decided that when I already intend to use the pork lard, instead of suet, I will also use a pork for a filling. And I made Steak and kidney pudding, but with pork as ingredients instead of beef.
I used the Easther’s recipe for crust, only it was a lard crust.
I almost forget, I didn’t knew what to use as pudding basin. I even tried to order the original pudding basin from UK, but the online stores in which I found the basins, don’t deliver in Croatia or delivery charge more than double the price of the product. 🙂 So I used the glass salad bowl, hoping it will not burst in the middle of steaming, because it is not heat resistant.
But, first I had to rendering lard, which is very boring. So, I decided to melt it, on the complete daze of my mother. But it came out pretty good.
And I made Pork loin and kidney pudding (slightly modified Easther’s recipe for Steak and kidney pudding), recipe below.
I put some old kitchen towels on the bottom of the cooking pot and I steamed pudding for more than 3,5 hours. I lifted it out, turned over and it began to leak. I was sure that everything is raw inside. But it wasn’t. The meat was soft, the crust wasn’t very tastefull, there was a lot of soup. My husband and daughter were disapointed. “Don’t ever do it again”, they concluded. “It may works for British, but it certainly doesn’t work for us. For our taste it is not delicious.”
“Maybe it’s my fault”, I said. “I did not use the beef and this amount of ingredients may be needed longer steaming time. And I put the bay leaf, only one bay leaf and it completely took over the taste. And maybe without giblets it have a diferent flavour and consistency.”
“Ok. You may try again, but with a smaller amount”, they finally agreed.
So I did, the very next day. 🙂 The same moment they left the house, I started all again.
First of all, I made changes to the crust. Except that I made a smaller amount of dough, for which I needed a smaller bowl, which I don’t have, so I used the flower pot, I also made a changes in dought ingredients.
In the second attempt recipe was as written bellow for Beef and pepper and onion pudding.
I steamed for 5 long hours. And lift it out. And the phone rang.
“What’s for lunch? We are very hungry”, I heard. I felt the throat dumpling.
“British Pudding”, somehow I manage to say.
“Hahahah, good one. No, really, we are starving. what’s for the lunch?”, they did not take me seriously.
“A British Pudding”, I repeated. “But I made quite differently this time. No any kind of giblets.”
“We hope so”, my husband replied.
When they sat at table, their faces reflected something between anger and fear of what is ahead.
“It does look better”, my daughter finally spoke. And she took a piece of crust. “And it’s really taste much better”, she added. “It’s actually very YUMI!”
Husband had the same verdict. “Much, much better this time”, he said.
“You should make it for Friday night (our traditional Friday dinners with friends), and make a filling like a Pašticada”, he ended.
Huhhhh, I dropped a huge stone from the heart. The British Pudding passed a test at the end! 🙂
After, because of Puddings, more than 5 hours spent in kitchen, twice, I concluded we deserve something sweet. But not less than chocolate sweet. So I made Steamed chocolate pudding by Delia Smith with small interventions. (recipe bellow)
Making a British puddings was truly a challenge. I hope we managed it. 🙂
- 450g self raising flour
- 250g pork lard
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 250ml of cold mixture of milk and water
- 750 of pork loin
- 50g of pork kidney, the pork kidney is small, so I used the
- 200g of pork liver
- 1 medium sized leek
- 1 medium sized purple onion
- 1 large red pepper
- 100g of champignons
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely choped
- 1 tablespon of flour
- salt, pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 220g of self raising flour
- 30g of grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch of white pepper
- 140g of pork lard
- 70-100ml of cold milk
- 400g of beef from the shoulder blade
- almost the same amount of purple onion or/and shallots
- 1 large red pepper
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- handfull of fresh basil leaves
- flour, nutmeg, salt, black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of tomato purre
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 25g of butter
- 50ml of red wine
- 50ml of milk
- (for 3 ramekins of 150ml)
- 40g dark chocolate ( I used chocolate with 45% of cocoa)
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 10g ground almonds
- 10g sugar
- 70ml milk
- 70ml cream
- few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 cubes of dark chocolate with 65-70% of cocoa
- 200ml cream
- 100g of fresh strawberries
- Rub the lard in a mixture of salt, pepper, and flour. Add water and knead a soft smooth dough.
- Roll the dough to 1 cm thick and cover the bottom and sides of the basin. Leave enough dough to cover the basin later. I didn’t grease the bowl additionaly because I have concluded that the dough itself is enough greas, and I was right.
- Chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes, toss them in seasoned flour (I mixed flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg), then add them to the pastry lined basin. Put the chopped vegetables. Repeat until all the ingredients are spent and reached the top of the basin.
- Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover the bowl with the remain crust.
- Seal well and cover with a sheet of parchment paper, pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a cooking pot over boiling water.
- Cook for at least 2.5 hours (Mrs Beeton) up to 5 hours (Delia Smith).
- The preparation of the crust is the same as for the crust above.
- For filling cut the meat into medium-sized cubes and roll it in mixture of flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Shake off excess flour.
- Heat the mixture of oil and butter in a pan and fry meat cubes until golden brown.
- Take the meat out on the plate and add to the pan chopped onions, garlic and pepper.
- Fry briefly, add the sugar, salt and pepper according to taste, add the tomato puree and return meat to pan. Stir and pour wine.
- Transfer into pudding basin, coated with ⅔ of the crust. Add the fresh basil leaves. Pour in the milk.
- Cover with the rest of the dough.
- Cover the dish with parchment paper, make sure you put a pleat in the paper you cover the bowl with to allow for expansion and than tie down tightly and secure with the strings.
- Steam for about 5 hours.
- The water mustn’t reach the top of the pudding.
- Break the chocolate into squares and place them in a small saucepan together with the milk, vanilla extract and sugar, and melt them over a gentle heat.
- When it is all melted and blended together, take the pan off the heat and whisk in the cream.
- Combine the breadcrumbs and ground almonds, then pour in the chocolate mixture and give it all a good stir.
- Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer till they form stiff peaks.
- Fold the whites carefully into the rest of the mixture.
- Spread mixture into prepared ramekins, put one cube of 70% cacao chocolate in the midlle of every ramekin, cover with a paper with a pleat in the middle and twist it all around the rim.
- Steamed for about 30 minutes.
- For that time beat whipped cream and clean strawberries.
- Let the cooked puddings to cool for a while and then slide a palette knife around the edge of the puddings and invert them on to a serving plates.
- Serve with cream and fresh strawberry.