Steamed Brown Pudding
Whiz the dry ingredients in a food processor until the dates are so thoroughly mixed into the flour you can hardly see them—a bit like in some recipes for sticky toffee pudding.
Gently heat the butter, sugar and jam until they are melted. Stir into the milk, egg, vanilla and bicarb mixture and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Pour into a greased 6-cup basin, top with greaseproof paper and a double layer of aluminium foil, tucking this well into the sides of the basin. Steam for four hours. Most “spongy” puddings are cooked after 1-1/2 to 2 hours but when I tested this after two hours I found it still rather sticky. Maybe it’s because I keep the heat under the saucepan as low as it will go. Anyway, after four hours’ cooking everyone pronounced this pudding as perfect so I am going to continue cooking it for that length of time. Other dried fruit can probably be used instead of dates but the only variation I tried on this pudding was to omit the vanilla and add several teaspoons of ground ginger. How much ginger you need depends on how fresh your ground ginger is. Serve with custard.
This recipe also works without an egg.
Serves at least six; could easily be stretched to eight if the egg is included. Like my budget Christmas Pudding, this one also goes down well sliced cold and buttered.
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