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Feb 22, 2002 11:18 AM

Pudding Steamer?

  • m

I bought the new Nigella Lawson cookbook and am having serious steak and kidney pie fantasies.

My problem is that the recipe calls for using a "pudding basin" and then steaming the "pudding".

What is a pudding basin? Where do I find one? When she says"put in basin and steam" what does that mean? How much water, etc?

Thank you!

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  1. c
    Caitlin McGrath

    You can use a glass, ceramic, or stainless bowl (just make sure it can handle heat), covered tightly with foil, as your pudding mold/basin. Place it on a rack in a large pot over simmering water, with the lid on the pot. If it steams for a long time, as these things often do, you'll have to check the water level occasionally and may need to top it up. Steamed puddings never really caught on in the US, at least not in the modern era.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Caitlin's suggestion is right on. For festive occasions you might wish to find decorative molds. There are even some made that have lids with little clamps to keep the lid on.

      1. re: saucyknave
        Caitlin McGrath

        Yeah, my mom has a fluted pudding mold with a clamp-on lid that's she's had for about 35 years (they were probably easier to come by then). It comes out once a year, every year, for her Christmas fig pudding, which is pretty much the source of my steamed pudding knowledge and experience in its entirety [g].

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Thank you so much! I just couldn't even visualize what she meant, now I have the total picture.

          I might have a soggy first try, but I'll keep going...

          1. re: Miss Poste

            I don't have the cookbook at hand, but Jocelyn Dimbleby's Waitrose Cookbook suggests a combination of foil and greaseproof paper (parchment paper, in the US, I guess), with a string tied around the excess to keep it all good and tight while steaming. I've done a Christmas pudding this way and it came out fine -- no soggy mess or anything. British cookery books are more likely to have illustrated examples of how the process is done, as well as recipes beyond the Christmas pudding. There's this summer lemon pudding with a whole lemon in it I've been meaning to try....



          2. re: Caitlin McGrath
            Lynne Hodgman

            And if anyone finds an easy recipe for steamed chocolate pudding with hard sauce, I would love to know about it. It is something I remember vaguely from the 50s, and occasionally dream about!

      2. Just for info the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book, first printed in 1896, has about 50 pages of pudding and custard recipes. Also included are instructions for steaming pudding..."Butter mold or baking-powder boxes and turn in mixture, having molds not more than two-thirds full. Put on cover and place mold on trivet in kettle containing boiling water. Have water come halfway up around mold. Keep water at boiling point, adding boiling water as needed" The timings vary widely per specific recipe, some 10 or 15 minutes, to others 2 or 3 hours.

        1. All this steamer information is helpful, but I'm still wondering why exactly you would need a pudding steamer for a steak and kidney pie in the first place.

          1. If you're making small/individual portions, I imagine those egg coddlers, the ones with a screw-on lid and a ring on top for easy retrieval, might come in handy.