Pudding Steamers: What to look for?
Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong board. I'm thinking since I'd like to make Xmas Pudding, I'd go to the source for information. :-)
In short, I'd like to purchase a pudding steamer and I'd like opinions on brands, or what to look for when I buy. For example, what material, capacity, fluted or straight sides. Since I live in Japan I have to import it, so I only have one shot as I can't really send it back.
Thank you much,
Your first constraint is knowing what size/shape of pudding basin your mixture's going to go in. That, of course, needs to sit inside your steamer.
I'd suggest that it's probably easiest to get one that is straight sided. The one I have is similar to the one on the following link, which sits nicely in a range of saucepans. But I suspect that may not be deep enough for other than small pudding.
I use this regularly for general steaming but have never used it for Xmas pudding (which we usually buy and microwave)
Is there no tradition of steaming food in Japan, that would have enabled you to buy something locally.?
They of course sell steamers. They're along the lines of the bamboo trays you see in Chinatowns. But even if I used them for the actual steaming, I haven't anything to put the pudding in.
As far as pots to place the pudding basin, I have every size from .5qt to 20qt. :-) I'm well prepared.
A lot of what I've seen online are made from aluminum. What material do you recommend for a good pudding? The aluminum seems too flimsy for long-term use.
Best think to put the pudding in is a Pyrex (or similar brand) glass bowl, grease it a little with butter before you add the mixture. The bowl should have a lip at the edge, this is to hold the string in place which holds on the top. The top consist of a layer of baking or great proof paper and a couple of layers of foil. Fold these across the middle to form a pleat (to allow for expansion. Then tie it on tightly with string, some people make a loop for a handle - I don't I simple get a length of foil and put it under the bowl to help lift it. This can be steamed in any pan (but put an upturned saucer in the bottom as the pudding shouldn't have direct heat) or any steamer basket. No special tools required - British steamed puddings are basic and simple and the equipment to make them is the same.
Not much to add, except that John Lewis carry a good range of basins:
They are very helpful, and I doubt that a despatch to Japan would be a problem.
Actually a bamboo steamer base in the bottom of a large lidded pot sounds like an ideal pudding steaming set-up.
re: tim irvine
This is all really interesting. I've thought for the longest time that I need special tools and it seems I have everything in my own kitchen.
Is there a big change in cooking time if I used one of the tall pans I've seen advertised as pudding pans and something lower like a souffle dish or ceramic bowl?
You don't need a pudding basin, I have have always cooked my Christmas puddings in calico cloth. Get a square pice of calico, rinse it and squeeze it until just damp, give it a good dusting of flour the place your pudding mix in the middle and gather up all the sides. Use twine to tie it securely, place it into a pot boiling water resting it on a small plate, the water should cover the pudding and cook asper recipe. I think the texture of the pudding is nicer than steamed in bowl.