Although it is getting into the fall and cooling off (perfect for baking) September can still get hot and we just got over a couple months of heat. The long hot days get hard as a baker. I don’t want to turn on my oven, I feel less drive to bake because of this. BUT there are other things that can be made without the oven being turned on.
Steamed puddings are a classic bready “baked” good that doesn’t require an oven at all. You do what it says in the name, steam it! This is a classic British dessert and because of that I feel like it has a bit of a reputation for not being that great. Have you had one though? They honestly are really good. The cake portion is a light, fine crumb. A little sweet and a nice vanilla flavor. You could easily adjust with some spices and make it really pop but along with the cake, traditionally there is some fruit and that’s what I really wanted to shine.
I honestly completely forgot about this dessert. I was flipping through an old European baking book and saw it and immediately was like ooo that sounds good. The original recipe uses jam in the bottom of the bowl but you can also make any fruit into a quick jam for this recipes. I had a bunch of blueberries in my freezer for almost a year now. I like to try to cycle through the ingredients in the freezer and that lead to a blueberry steamed pudding. A quick cook down with some honey and lemon juice and I was ready to go. You can absolutely do other fruit, or adjust the sweetness to your preference. I like the tart flavor of the lemon in the blueberries with just a hint of honey for an earthy sweetness. Then the cake is nice and sweet and cakey so all together this was amazing. I think I ended up eating all of it myself as well because I could not stop taking a slice.
In terms of the steaming that is a whole process that I won’t get into yet. Let’s look at the recipe and I can talk more about some tips and tricks with steaming a cake instead of baking!
Blueberry Steamed Pudding
100g Unsalted Butter, soft
100g Granulated Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla
2 ea. Eggs
170g All Purpose Flour
2 ¼ tsp Baking Powder
250g Jam or other fruit topping (see note)
Grease a heat safe bowl that is at least 1 quart in size, preferably with a rim to secure cover.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in full until smooth. Scrape the bowl often. Finish with the vanilla.
Remove bowl and sift the flour and baking powder into the batter. Fold gently into the mixture until smooth.
Spread the fruit jam or topping into the bottom of the prepared bowl.
Gently spread the batter on top of the fruit.
Secure a pieces of parchment then a piece of foil on top of the bowl. Make a pleat in the center to allow room for any expansion. Use bakers twine or a heat safe string to secure as tightly as possible to the bowl to prevent steam from entering the pudding.
Use more twine to create a handle to lift the bowl in and out of the steamer.
Once bowl is ready, gently lower into a steamer set over a pot of boiling water. You can also place into a pot with some other way to create steam without letting the bowl touch the water.
Steam for 1 ¾-2 hours.
Remove cover and flip onto a plate to serve.
Note: I make a quick blueberry jam. I literally measured 250g of frozen blueberries, added a couple tablespoons of honey and some fresh lemon juice. Cooked it down on medium heat until the berries mostly all were burst then ready to make the cake!
Okay. Recipe over. Seems easy enough. The mixing is a basic creaming method recipe so it’s really not that bad. The steaming is where things get interesting…
Steaming needs a few things to work. First off a heat safe bowl. Now I did use a glass bowl because that’s what I had on hand that fits in a pot. If you could use a ceramic bowl or metal bowl, do it. The biggest thing to worry about with glass is shocking it and it breaking while steaming. Adding boiling water to the pot through the process helps with that. But please be careful because I have shocked and broken bowls before while steaming and it’s so sad to see the half cooked cake and all your work sitting with glass shards in a pot with some simmering water.
Before filling the bowl, prep the cover and baker’s twine to seal. I use a layer of parchment paper with a layer of foil. This is just classic technique so I stick with it. Give a small fold in the center of the sheets to account for any expansion in the steaming process. Mine did not leave the size of the bowl but if you use a smaller bowl you do not want the cover to crush the air and make a denser cake. The more difficult part is the securing with twine and making a handle. I use standard bakers twine. Use any string that is heat resistant so that you can seal and pull it tight. Ideally get it as tight as possible as any steam that gets into the seal can leave water on top of the baking cake. The handle portion is to help place it and remove it from the pot. There’s no real skill here, just MacGyvor-ing it to make it function the best I can.
Inside the pot I used a tart ring to hold the bowl up. In the past I have made foil rings. You just need something to keep the boil off the bottom of the pot so that it steams and doesn’t cook on the bottom. Once prepared, make the cake, boil water while mixing it up, and once the cake is in the bowl and covered you can steam it!
While steaming you will need to add water. Make sure to pre-boil it so that it goes faster and to avoid shocking the bowl with the cake. I had to add a little water every 30-40 minutes so it’s not that bad. As long as you keep the lid on the pot and maintain a low simmer to produce just enough steam you’ll be set.
Once the cake is steamed up it’s all good to go! I like to flip it out onto a plate after a 10 minute rest. Let the cake start to cool and set before inverting bit still while warm so it doesn’t stick to the bowl. The fruit ends up on top and depending on the consistency can sometimes ooze down and it makes just the sexiest cake on a summer day. Especially when you use fresh fruit inside, damn it can get good.
I don’t know if this will all sound scary or easy but it’s at least fun and I really different technique to utilize in the hotter months. So go steam a “pudding” and enjoy the warmer days before the fall full kicks in.