Anglo-Indian steamed cake with ginger, served with a tea-infused crème anglaise. Perfect for the colder months.

Steamed puddings are old-fashioned desserts that were common in England before households had reliable ovens. Steamed puddings lie somewhere in the middle of the cake–pudding continuum—neither as light and airy as a cake, nor as silky and moist as a modern pudding. We loved its unique texture when we tried it! This recipe is based on the original recipe in the book ‘Anglo-Indian Food and Customs‘ by Patricia Brown. We turned what was originally a carrot steamed pudding into a ginger pudding by adding ginger—both paste and candied. We also changed the proportions to match the sweetness and the texture that we wanted.

Steamed puddings are commonly served with a custard sauce—crème anglaise—which we decided to infuse with tea. The idea of a ginger pudding with a tea sauce sounded perfect, and to our surprise it really works!

Steamed puddings are traditionally made in pudding basins, which are made of metal or ceramic. Some have lids and some—like the one we are using—need to be covered with a foil and baking paper with a pleat that allows the pudding to expand. It also has a lip which lets you tie a string around it and create a sling with which the pudding pot can be safely lowered into and retrieved from the pot of boiling water.

If you enjoy the history of food and are not afraid to try something new you should try this recipe.


COOKING TIME 3 hours
YIELDS 1 pudding (6 servings)


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
FOR PUDDING
115 g Salted butter (softened)
175 g Brown sugar
3 Eggs
2 large Lemons (juice of 1, zest of 2)
¼ tsp Gorom moshla
50 g Fresh ginger paste
¼ tsp Salt
120 g Plain flour (maida)
½ tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Baking powder
100 g Carrot (grated)
100 g Candied ginger (5mm pieces)
FOR THE TEA CUSTARD
150 g Milk
1 pc Cardamom
5 g Ginger (sliced)
10 g Tea
3 Egg yolks
50 g Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
250 g Heavy cream
¼ cup Brandy (optional; for flambé)

Equipment

  • Pudding basin or a thick ceramic bowl
  • Cotton twine
  • Aluminium foil
  • Baking paper
  • Balloon whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Frying pan

Appliances

  • Stove
  • Weighing scale

Method

Making the pudding

  1. Grease the pudding dish with butter.
  2. Using a foil and a baking paper create the lid for the pudding basin. Don’t forget to create a pleat to allow the pudding to rise. Follow the video to see how. Grease the bottom side (the baking paper) with butter.
  3. Cut a baking paper to the shape of the bottom of your pudding basin. Line your pudding mould with the paper.
  4. Sift together the plain flour (maida), baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  5. Zest the two large lemons. Don’t get to the white pith—it is bitter!
  6. Peel and grate the carrots.
  7. Chop the candied ginger into small 5mm pieces.
  8. Grind fresh ginger with twice the weight of water. You will need 50 grams of this paste for this recipe.
  9. In another mixing bowl whisk the room-temperature butter till it is soft.
  10. Add the brown sugar and whisk until pale and airy.
  11. Whisk in three eggs one at a time, taking care to mix one in thoroughly before adding the next.
  12. Now add the flavouring agents—lemon zest, gorom moshla, and ginger paste to the mixture.
  13. Squeeze the juice of one large lemon into the mix and whisk everything together. Now put the whisk away. We won’t be using it anymore.
  14. Bring a kettle of water to boil. We will need this water to steam the pudding.
  15. Next add the dry-ingredients mixture, grated carrots, and candied ginger to the wet mixture. Fold gently with a spatula to mix everything evenly. Don’t over-mix so as to not develop too much gluten.
  16. The pudding batter can now be poured into the buttered and lined mould.
  17. Cover the pudding basin with the pleated foil-baking paper lid. Tie a strong cotton twine all around below the lip of the basin. Now use another twine to create a sling. Watch the video to see how this is done.
  18. Pour the boiling water into a large pot placed on the stove. Lower the pudding basin into the boiling water using the sling for safety. Pour more boiling water into the pot to bring the water upto two-third of the height of the basin.
  19. Cover with a fitted lid and let this simmer on the stovetop. Make sure to refill with more water if the water level goes down a lot.
  20. After 1 hour 45 minutes take out the pudding basin using the sling. Uncover the lid and let it cool for two hours. Serve while still a little warm.