This is my second Instructable on making British puddings using a pudding basin. The first was a yummy dessert, Persimmon Pudding. For this one, I decided to do a savory steak and mushroom pudding...mainly because I just like telling people I had steak and mushroom pudding for dinner, but also because it tastes amazing. While this recipe takes a long time to finish (over 4 hours), it does not take a lot of work. Think of pudding steaming as a very old (~1700 AD) version of a slow cooker.
NOTE: While a British pudding basin looks like just any other bowl, they have a couple of special features that are essential. First, they have a wide lip at the top to hold string firmly in place since the top is tied down. Second, they have a special bottom that keeps air bubbles from forming on the bottom of the basin and causing uneven cooking. If you are going to try this or any other steamed pudding, I highly recommend buying a proper pudding basin and not attempting to steam with a regular bowl.
Ingredients - Filling:
- 1 lbs steak (preferably sirloin), cubed
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 lbs mushrooms (your choice), sliced or diced
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup beef stock
- 2 tbsp country mustard (whole grain)
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Ingredients - Suet Crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 oz suet, shredded
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
Step 1: Prep
Place a steel ring in the center of a deep lidded stock pot. Fill about 1/3-1/2 full with water. You want the water to come up to about halfway on the pudding basin when it sits on the ring. Start heating the water to a boil.
Generously butter the inside of a 1 qt. pudding basin.
Step 2: Suet Crust
Since this is a savory pudding, the simplest crust to make is just suet, flour, and water. Place the shredded suet, flour, salt, and water in a bowl and mix until a firm ball forms. Roll this out on a lightly floured pastry board to about 1/2 inch thick. It should be large enough to cover the sides and bottom of the pudding basin.
Cut a piece from the crust that is just under 1/4 of the whole round. This will become the top crust. Take the large piece and press it into the pudding basin, being sure to overlap the cut edges and mold the crust up over the sides of the basin as shown. Later, this will give us some dough to fold over the top crust.
Step 3: Filling
Place the mushrooms, onions, meat, salt and pepper (to taste), in the same bowl the dough was mixed in and add 3 tbsp of flour. Stir to coat then pour this mixture into the pudding basin. You are likely to have a little extra filling left over. That is okay, I like to pan fry the extra the next morning with some Worcestershire sauce and a couple of fried eggs and some fresh tomato slices. Yum!
Step 4: "Pudding" It All Together
Roll out the leftover piece of dough into a round. Mix the broth, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and pour into pudding basin over meat and mushroom mixture. Top with dough round and press the sides over the top to seal.
Step 5: Prepping for Steaming
Take two sheets of wax or parchment paper (parchment is preferred) and lay out double thick. Generously butter the top sheet on one side with butter. Slip a sheet of aluminum foil under the paper sheets and fold once, then again to form an "S"- or a "Z"-shaped fold. This will be an expansion joint in the top while the pudding is steaming...since it will expand as well.
Step 6: Wrap and Tie
Place the paper and foil butter side down onto the top of the puddling basin with the expansion joint centered along the top. Tie the foil down to the side of the basin using cooking twine. Using an extra length of twine, make a handle, as shown. Trim the sides of the foil and paper and then tuck the foil around the paper against the string.
Since we buttered the bowl, and buttered our paper, the pudding mixture and crust are now surrounded by butter. This will help make the outside of the crust firm and brown.
Step 7: Steam
Place the basin into the boiling water on top of the steel ring. Reduce to a brisk simmer. Cover and simmer for 3.5-4 hours, being sure to check the water every hour to make sure there is enough in the pot.
Remove from the water and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Remove the string, foil, and paper. Using a sharp and thin knife, ease the crust away from the sides of the basin and then turn over onto a plate.