There are dozens of variations on the basic steamed pudding, and by adding ingredients to the mixture, or using different preserves for the topping, you can ring the changes almost indefinitely. But whichever version you go for, remember that no pudding is complete without ajug of creamy custard.
Ideal food for chilly days, steamed puddings are a childhood favourite which deserve to be made more often. This variation is served in a sticky pool of warm golden syrup, which also soaks into the top during cooking.
175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
75 g (3 oz) shredded beef suet or softened butter
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
about 90 ml (6 tbsp) fresh milk
1. Grease a 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin if making a steamed pudding, or a deep pie dish if baking the pudding. Spoon the flavouring of your choice into the bottom (see below) .
2. Mix together the flour, salt, suet or softened butter and sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency. Pour into the prepared dish.
3. If steaming the pudding, cover with pleated greaseproof paper or foil and secure with string. Steam for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
4. If baking, cook, uncovered, at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for about 1 hour, until well risen. Serve hot with custard.