Monday, 17 February 2014

Steamed Marmalade Pudding

This is the type of dish that is just perfect when you yearn for something warm and reassuringly comforting to eat after a hearty meal on a cold, wintry day. Steamed puddings have the reputation of being quite heavy to eat, but this one is surprising light and wonderful eaten with some lightly whipped cream.

I know that I have recently posted a number of recipes using marmalade, but the reasons for this are two-fold; firstly, I was extremely pleased with the marmalade that I recently made and as I have explained previously, I may have been a little over-exuberant with the quantities that I made, so recipes such as this one are a wonderful excuse to use some of it up and also showcase the versatility of this wonderful preserve.

Secondly, whereas once marmalade was a staple at the breakfast table in the British Isles – something tasty to spread on warm toast, its popularity has waned, to be replaced by a whole range of other foods, such as chocolate and hazelnut spreads, sugary mass-produced cereals, breakfast bars and other such things.

I have always loved marmalade and would hate to think that it is viewed merely as a culinary curiosity of yesteryear. Therefore, I make a batch of marmalade each year when the Seville oranges come into the shops and I also rejoice in some of the heart-warming and delicious recipes that use it. I am determined that marmalade shall retain a position of prominence in my household at the very least.

Although marmalade can be time-consuming to make, it is not difficult to do and everyone should try making it at least once. When they are in season, Seville oranges are relatively inexpensive; so, if you like the taste of marmalade, producing your own really does make sense. If care is taken when bottling the preserve, it can be stored for many months in a cool, dark cupboard.

The great thing about steamed puddings is that the cooking times do not have to be as precise as they are with baking and an extra half hour really doesn’t make much of a difference, as the steam in which they cook prevents them from overcooking or drying out. Whilst you can never go wrong serving pouring custard with any steamed pudding, I think that this one benefits from being served with lightly whipped cream. If preferred you can also serve with a dollop of crème fraîche; the slight acidity of which complements the faint bitterness of the Seville orange marmalade.
As seems to be my habit, I have included a splash of alcohol in the pudding batter with the inclusion of some Cointreau – an orange flavoured liqueur for which I have a great fondness. As usual, feel free to omit the Cointreau, substituting it for more orange juice.
 

Ingredients:

100g marmalade
100g butter plus a little extra for greasing
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g self-raising flour, sifted
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2tblsp orange juice
1tblsp Cointreau

Method:

1. Generously grease a 500ml capacity pudding bowl with some butter and spoon the marmalade into the bottom. Set aside.
2. Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, mixing well after each addition Add in the finely grated orange zest. Next add the self-raising flour and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Finally mix through the orange juice and Cointreau.
3. Spoon the batter into the pudding bowl on top of the marmalade and smooth the top using the back of a metal spoon.
4. Place a pleated sheet of non-stick baking parchment followed by a pleated sheet of tin foil and secure around the top of the pudding bowl with tightly tied string.
5. Steam for approximately 2 hours. I use an electric steamer, but you can also steam it using more traditional methods, placed on an old upturned saucer in a covered saucepan of simmering water which needs to come half-way up the sides of the pudding bowl. Make sure to keep an eye on the water levels though and top up as required to keep the water levels fairly constant. Let sit in the bowl for about five minutes and then upturn onto a serving dish.
 
Serves 4.