Hi friends, sorry to disappoint but I’ve had to postpone this week’s Malaysian Monday. The weekend flew by too quickly and I’ve just realised it’s THAT time of the month again. Yes, time for the Daring Bakers to strut their stuff.
This month’s challenge was indeed very challenging and I have to admit I only managed to be half-daring. The dish itself was very simple, we had to make a proper British pudding, but I found the secret ingredient a little too intimidating.
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.
(Recipes can be found here at the Daring Kitchen)
Suet is raw beef or mutton fat usually found around the loins and kidneys. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to use it. If you’ve been around here before, you’ll know that I really enjoy fatty dishes like pork belly and duck, so why should a different fat freak me out so much?
I think it was the thought of crumbling this raw fat into a sweet pudding. So I looked at using the sanitised packaged suet that could be bought at the supermarket instead, but then balked at the last minute. How is that stuff not going rancid in the box? How many preservatives are in there?
I was just going to use butter but after reading various web recipes, it was obvious that butter wouldn’t give the correct texture. So I compromised by using lard instead. I know, it’s still a big hunk of animal fat, not really too different from suet, but somehow my brain could handle this a bit better.
I made a Rhubarb Roly-Poly based on a recipe found at The Pudding Club website. I have to say that my tummy was doing little flip-flops as I mixed the lard through the flour because lard smells quite full-on. The greasy feeling left behind on my hands was also quite off-putting. I was seriously wondering how the finished pudding would smell, so I added a dash of vanilla extract just in case.
The end result was surprisingly good. The texture of the pudding wasn’t wet and sticky as I expected, but it was very moist yet “short” – a bit like a cross between a crumble and a shortcrust pastry. Needless to say it was also very, very rich, so I’m glad I’d paired it with something clean flavoured. To serve, I made a caramel sauce using lemon juice and lemon balm, and again, the clean, “herby” flavour of the sauce helped cut the richness.
As tasty as it was, I don’t think I’ll be making another pudding this way again because the family just weren’t that into it, and would prefer crumble or pie instead. However, when I do get a bit of time, I’d like to try the sponge-based steamed pudding which uses butter instead of suet – I think it will go down very well in the dark days of winter. (Yes, I exaggerate, I know)
So thank you Esther for pushing me outside my comfort zone, I think this has been my most daring challenge so far. Do have a look at what the other Daring Bakers made.
(adapted from a jam roly-poly recipe found at The Pudding Club)
180g self-raising flour (I made my own using the following ratios, 1 cup plain flour:1 tsp baking powder: ¼ tsp baking soda : pinch of salt – actually I found that this ratio left quite a strong aftertaste of baking soda, so try reducing the amount)
2 tbsp Demerara sugar plus more for dipping the rhubarb in
lemon rind from 1 lemon
dash of vanilla extract
¼ cup water
2 stalks rhubarb if thick, 4 if thin
Butter a loaf tin well. Prepare the steamer (I used a trivet sitting in the bottom of a wok).
Place the flour, lemon rind and sugar in a large bowl, then mix in the lard. I did this using a combination of “cutting” it through with a spatula and rubbing it with my hands. When the lard has been incorporated into the flour, and the dough looks a bit like breadcrumbs, add the water a little at a time until the dough binds together (add the vanilla at this point). I found that the sugar doesn’t dissolve well and the dough will have grains of sugar through it but it doesn’t affect the end result.
Take a small piece of dough, smaller than a tennis ball, then gently roll out the rest into a rectangularish shape onto a piece of plastic wrap (it’s very soft and may need to be refrigerated for a few minutes to help with handling). Make sure the length will fit into the loaf tin. Use the extra dough to roll into a sausage shape that is as long as the flattened dough. Cut the rhubarb into lengths that will fit along the length of the dough. I had six rhubarb pieces in all. Dip the rhubarb in some of the sugar, then space it out on the dough. Place the other sausage of dough in the middle of the flat piece, and on top of the rhubarb. Using the plastic wrap, try to roll everything up into a log shape, the stalks of rhubarb should be evenly distributed in sort of a circular pattern wrapped around that sausage of dough in the middle.
Carefully unwrap the log into the loaf tin, aiming to get the seam side down. A tip I found somewhere (I think it was on the Pudding Club), recommends placing something heat-proof (I used wadded up aluminium foil) under one side of the loaf tin to tip it up so that it rolls into the edge of the pan– this helps the log hold its shape a bit better.
Cover the loaf pan tightly with aluminium foil. Steam until done – mine took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Top up the water as necessary.
For the caramel sauce, I steeped some lemon balm in about ¼ cup hot water and added a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Then I made caramel by cooking about half a cup of sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water. When the sugar reached the brown caramel stage, I turned the heat off and carefully poured the lemon balm infused water into the hot sugar (careful it will spit!). Add more water or lemon juice if needed to thin the sauce down to pouring consistency.
Now to figure out what to do with the leftover half block of lard. Any ideas?
Have a good week ☺