Steamed Pudding – that either sounds completely homey and comfortable to you, or totally strange and foreign. I get it. To me, though I can’t say I’ve even eaten that many of them, Steamed Puddings are a cosy delight.
It’s those Brits with all of their brilliant literature – Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Enid Blyton, JK Rowling…a bunch of others that I can’t remember right now. They’ve reeled me in with their talk of rainy days and Sunday lunch and steamed puddings…I’m hooked.
Laurie Colwin (not a Brit, but very enamored of their cooking) describes steamed puddings as looking ‘like a baked hat’. And it is a pretty accurate description – if the hat was like, a brim-less bowler hat, or a stuffed beanie.
She, nonetheless, is still very fond of them and so am I. There is something about a steamed pudding that is completely stodgy and comforting, but also a little bit elegant and grand.
This particular version is my take on the whole scene. I think with steamed puddings you gotta fight for lightness (and anyone who’s had a super-heavy Christmas pudding will know what I mean), so I’ve gone heavy on the tenderising buttermilk.
I also think it’s a fight for flavour, so I’ve used plenty of super-dark cocoa, and then once the tender dark pudding is released from it’s mold, I swathe that sucker in a chocolate hazelnut sauce. And when I say chocolate-hazelnut, YES I DID USE NUTELLA.
Think of steamed pudding as just a really delicious, tender and rich cake, that you eat warm and covered in chocolate sauce. When I put it that way, does it take away some of the scary old-timey vibe?
For me it definitley does, and I’m left with nothing but fancy comfort food. I can’t imagine a better dessert after some simple, ridiculously delicious British dinner, like bangers and mash, or a roast chicken. Obviously I didn’t get into Hogwarts (HUGE disappointment) but surely this is the next best thing?
- 1 stick (115g) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (110g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup (100g) plain flour
- ⅓ cup (30g) cocoa powder (good, dark stuff)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup (125ml) heavy cream
- 2 oz (50g) dark chocolate
- ⅓ cup nutella
- chopped hazelnuts, to serve
- Grease a 1L pudding dish very well.
- Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and beat them together until visibly lighter in colour.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one, until completely incorporated.
- Add in the dry ingredients and stir briefly, before adding in all the buttermilk and stirring just until everything is combined and there are no streaks.
- Scrape the batter into the pudding mould, and cover with baking paper, securing the paper with either string or (as I do) a rubber band.
- And place into a large saucepan. Fill the pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding mold, and simmer for 90 minutes, topping up the water as needed from time to time.
- To make the sauce, melt the cream, chocolate and nutella in a saucepan over a small heat.
- To serve, unmold the pudding and pour over some of the sauce, scatter with chopped hazelnuts.
- Serve with more sauce, and some ice cream or heavy cream, if desired!