Last month some friends and I paid a visit to Walwa Park, a charming little family-run farm on the northern outskirts of town. Along with a tour of the property and some very insightful discussions about growing, rearing and processing your own pretty-much-anything, we were treated to the most amazing feast - an overly-indulgent lunch of slow-roasted roast pork with all the trimmings. Home brewed rhubarb fizz and a morning tea of scones and biscuits also featured, but it was our host's homemade jams that were a real highlight.
With an interest in cultivating less common and heirloom varieties they offered a really interesting selection, and I was fortunate enough to be sent home with a jar of the most exquisite purple raspberry jam (a hybrid variety that is a cross between the European red and North American black raspberry). The flavour was so raspberry-y and jammy that it sent me straight back to my childhood. You know the taste of that perfectly-ripe raspberry, just-picked from the cane and all warm and juicy from the hot summer sun? This was that in a jar, with an overtone of blackberry added just for good measure. All in all a real treat, and while it's hard to go past the good old-fashioned accompaniments of coffee and toast, I also wanted to do something special with it and, given our recent cold snap, could think of nothing better than a comforting steamed pud.
While most steamed jam puddings use a sponge-like base, one of the more memorable (and delicious) ones I've ever eaten was a marmalade pudding served by London's Hawksmoor restaurant, who instead use a bread-based batter for the pudding itself.
Thankfully they decided to share the recipe for it in their first cookbook, so with a few tweaks in substituting jam for marmalade and throwing in some lemon zest and vanilla to brighten the batter, a couple of gentle hours in the steamer later and we were ready to go. Surprisingly rich for a pud comprised primarily of bread the flavour was, as expected, amazing. Unfortunately the aesthetics did suffer a little from the leached purple jammy hue, which didn't contrast quite as nicely as the golden marmalade in the original version. But all this was of little consequence as soon as each wedge was smothered in a good dollop of cold, thick cream. A happy case of "nothing fancy, just delicious".
STEAMED JAM PUDDING (Adapted from Hawksmoor at Home)
- 170 g day-old sourdough, torn roughly into 'breadcrumbs'*
- 60 g caster sugar
- 60 g brown sugar
- zest of half a lemon, finely grated
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 30 g plain flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 120 g butter, melted
- 250 g raspberry jam
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
Grease a 1 litre pudding basin and fill the bottom with raspberry jam.
In a large bowl, rub the zest into the sugars then combine with the flour, baking powder and breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla, until frothy.
Pour the melted butter into the breadcrumb mixture and mix well with a large spoon. Fold in the eggs, until well mixed. Dissolve the bicarbonate soda in 1 Tbsp cold water, fold through the pudding mixture and immediately pour into the prepared basin. Cover the basin with a double layer of cling film, followed by a layer of foil. Fasten with string then place on a trivet (or jar lid) in a saucepan and pour in boiling water until it reaches a third of the way up the sides of the basin. Cover and steam over gentle heat for 2 hours, topping up the water on occasion, if necessary.
Remove the cover and turn out onto a serving plate. Serve with pouring custard or cream.
** I like my pudding crumb to be fairly chunky, but you can whiz this in a food processor if you're after a finer, more even crumb.