Nigel Slater steamed pudding

February 20, 2016 4:55 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Published slightly more years ago than I care to remember, in the Guardian (I think), this was one of the columns that set me off baking. I read this particular recipe on the train on the way down to my first job in London. Surrounded by teenage recruits to the army, I learned a lot about squaddie life and traditional English puddings at the same time. Both of those things stood me in much better stead than I could have anticipated at the time…

The magic of this recipe is as much in the words as the method. If you can fall in love with good food – as Nigel Slater’s writing makes you do – then you start to understand how to make the ingredients, flavours and combinations work. The bare recipe only gets you so far: a desire to create ‘the majesty of a huge steaming pudding’ gets you a lot further. Slightly truncated, here is the recipe. Share with some squaddies, if you can find any.

The Steamed Pudding by Nigel Slater

The majesty of a huge steaming pudding brought to the table, dripping with treacle or jam

A huge steamed sponge dripping with treacle or jam is the first thing we think of when someone says the word pudding.

The Victorians used suet in their steamed pudding recipe, no doubt to comfort themselves against the long, freezing, foggy winters. Modern cooks are more likely to use butter. (NB: WE HAVE LOVELY VEG SUET AVAILABLE AT NATURALLY GOOD FOOD – GIVE IT A GO! See it here.)

The most loved of all the steamed puddings are jam roly poly and spotted dick. They are rarely made nowadays. Truth told, such puddings take a while to cook and few people want a kitchen full of steam. But on a winter’s day, a syrup sponge is difficult to beat.


4 tbsp golden syrup

50g breadcrumbs

150g butter (or suet!)

150g caster or light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tbsp milk

150g self-raising flour


Butter a 1.2 litre pudding basin, then pour in the golden syrup and add the breadcrumbs. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Break the eggs and whisk them, then add them, a little at a time. If the mixture has curdled somewhat, no matter, it will come together when you add the flour.

Sift in the flour, stirring it gently with a metal spoon. Spoon the mixture on top of the golden syrup, gently smoothing it flat. Cover the basin with a piece of pleated and buttered greaseproof paper, tying it firmly around the rim of the basin with a piece of string or a large, strong rubber band. Cover with foil or muslin and tie in place.

Place the basin on a trivet in a large saucepan of simmering water. The water should come halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. Cover with a lid and simmer for one-and-a-half hours, topping up from time to time with boiling water. Do not let the pan boil dry.

Carefully remove from the pan, leave to rest for a few minutes, then peel off the covers. Turn out onto a serving dish. Serve with extra warmed syrup and cream.



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This post was written by Yzanne

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