Daring Bakers April 2010: A right proper pudding innit?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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.

Rhubarb “Roly-Poly”
(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
90g lard
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.

Serve warm.

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 ☺


3 hungry tummies said...

This is going to taste so good with the use of lard :) Definitely worth the extra time on my bicycle!

Lori said...

I love rhubarb so this one would be a good one to try. I think if I make them again, the puddings, I may use lard.

shelley c. said...

Great job! I just tried rhubarb for the first time last year, and think it would be a perfect filling for a dessert like that. Beautifully done.

Audax said...

Lovely you could go the challenge and yes the pastry is very good I thought. DO try the sponge type pudding there are much easier to eat more like a very moist cake like Christmas cake. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia. Lovely pixs also.

mike@scallopsandpancetta said...

Suet isn't that bad - probably even easier to use than Lard since it's not in one block - it's in kind of grains so you hardly need to handle it and it doesnt smell. In my experience, anyway. Suet scones are good, but my favourite use of suet is in a classic British Spotted Dick (or steamed pudding!)

Deeba PAB said...

Oh you are indeed a daring roly poly DB my dear! I would have never dared! GOOD FOR YOU!! Well done on the challenge indeed!

Bonnie said...

I'm with you on the lard. I'd chuck it out. I think it smells funny and I can always pick out it's distinct flavor in baked goods.

Thanks for the recipe for the caramel sauce with lemon balm. I have an abundance of it and never know quite what to do with it.

Esi said...

Nice job. I didn't do it since the main ingredient sort of grossed me out ;)

grace said...

for some reason, lard is infinitely more appealing to me than suet. right on. i love the cross-section--the rhubarb sure makes for a lovely pudding!

Hungry Dog said...

Well, I certainly like the name Rhubarb roly poly! How cute. Looks cute too. Not sure about suet or lard though, guess I'm a wimp. Good for you for giving it a try!

shaz said...

3 hungry tummies - he he, I know what you mean, I hit the gym pretty hard after this pudding :)

Lori - the lard sure works for texture but I just can't get over the weird smell. It didn't smell after cooking though.

shelley c. - I'm a relative newcomer to rhubarb too but I adore it now.

Audax - yes, I will definitely try the steamed pudding, I think a lemony one would be just delicious. Or I could always go rhubarb again.

mike - ahh, good to know about the suet. It just looks a bit too "raw" though. I know that since I eat meat , I should eat all parts of the animal but some bits are prettier than others! I was actually keen to try spotted dick but there is a strong anti-raisin faction in our house :)

Deeba - thank you dear, took a long time to work up courage for this one :)

Bonnie - lemon balm grows too fast doesn't it? I bought the plant on a whim and I'm not too sure what to use it for either. I think it can be used anywhere a citrusy/ "green" flavour would work.

Esi- know exactly what you mean! I think I'll stick to butter :)

grace - I think it's because it comes nicely packaged and looks white that I could handle the lard :)

shaz said...

Hungry Dog - thanks. Glad I gave it a go, but didn't feel very daring when I was making it!

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

I think I might have a bit of a challenge finding lard in my local supermarkets. If not, I would have to resort to using butter.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Nice pudding Shaz! Very nicely done. Love the use of rhubarb.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

gorgeous job Shaz! And aren't those English names so cute and funny-Roly Poly, Spotted Dick and Toad In the Hole and all that innit? :P

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Rhuberb tastes so great and is really versatile. I love Rolly Pollies and that version looks delicious!



Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, I've seen so many rhubarb recipes lately. I wonder if rhubarb is food's new black or something LOL. Your rolly polly looks fab.
*kisses* HH

Barbara said...

Brilliant idea, Shaz! I would have used lard in place of suet too. (lard makes by far the BEST pie crust!)
And you know how I love rhubarb!
Super twist on Daring Bakers!

MaryMoh said...

I have not tried rhubarb but this looks so delicious I would love to try. Thanks for sharing.

The Betz Family said...

Your roly-poly looks great! I had that same greasy yucky feeling on my hands after crumbling the suet so it is definitely similar to lard in that way. Nice job on the challenge!

Kristen said...

Good for you for going outside your comfort zone! And it paid off, your roly-poly looks great!

Barbara Bakes said...

I couldn’t bring myself to use suet either. I love the idea you came up with. It's perfect for this time of year. Well done!

shaz said...

Xiao Yen - butter would work too, especially for the sponge type pudding

Ellie - thanks!

Lorraine - too funny!

Rosa's Yummy Yums - rhubarb rocks :)

Heavenly Housewife - maybe it's a sign to use more rhubarb?

Barbara - I was actually thinking of you dear when I was writing about the rhubarb :)

MaryMoh - definitely worth a try.

The Betz Family - well done for using the suet!

Kristen - thank you very much.

Barbara Bakes - next time I'll do chocolate pud, yours looked amazing!