Hello Friends, This month’s daring bakers challenge was…well challenging.  Not complicated, or even difficult.  Just.  Challenging.  There are a lot of new ideas to wrap your mind around. We’ll start slow. Here we have Traditional British Pudding. No relation to the Jello pudding cup variety. A British pudding can be so varied it’s kind of hard to define, but here are some general characteristics. It is either savory or sweet. It is generally steamed, but can also be wrapped and cloth and boiled. It either has a cakey pastry crust with filling or it is homogenous like a sponge cake. A British pudding can be made with butter or lard, but is usually made with… Cringe…

Suet. If you haven’t heard of suet before, fantastic! You’re unbiased. If you have, you’re probably shrinking in disgust.  Just stay calm, it’ll be ok. Suet is the hard fat of beef or mutton found around the kidneys. It has an extremely high melting point for fat, which is part of what makes it unpleasant. Should fat really be solid at room temperature? Yes, actually! And this property is exactly what we’re going to exploit in making pudding. Here is my very vague and possibly not entirely accurate understanding of how suet is better than butter for pudding. Because suet melts at a high temperature, the batter of whatever you’re using it in, has already begun to set so when the suet begins to melt, it is only able to spread in a small area leaving behind small holes that make the pudding airy and light. Somehow in the end, it doesn’t taste fatty at all. Butter melts before your pudding has any structure giving a dense, greasy result. So where do you get suet? Try the grocery store butcher. Chances are they’ll be happy to wrap it up for you for free. Now for cooking the pudding.  This part is pure magic. It seems to absolutely defy all logic. The pudding spends 5 hours up to its neck in boiling water and then..voila! Comes out with a delectable flaky browned crust. See? Magic. And umm…ignore the dimple.  That’s what happens when you don’t fill the pudding all the way…oops. As I mentioned above, there are as many varieties of pudding as you can combine ingredients, but I chose to do two of the more traditional ones. Steak and onion, and cinnamon raisin (variant of Spotted Dick). The recipes can be found here (link to be added soon!). To cook, I steamed them for a full 5 hours. Alterations: Spotted Dick – I used raisins instead of currants and added a little cinnamon and lemon zest. I went and topped it with custard to be traditional, but it took me three custard recipes (including one made with Bird’s) to discover, I just plain don’t like custard!  Oh well, the pudding was so rich and moist custard was unnecessary anyway. Steak and Onion – I followed the steak and kidney recipe, leaving out the kidney and adding half an onion instead. The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet. Excellent challenge Esther! I look forward to revisiting.  Apple pie pudding?  OH YEA.  As soon as I can stomach suet again, I’m totally there. Happy May! Katie

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