Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More... Advanced... Brit Food: Pork and Apple Pudding

Pies and wassail and all are well and good, but when most non-Brits think of British food, they think of scary, unidentifiable blobs of meat and flour and fat from organ meat. Luckily, Favourite Kentish Recipes doesn't disappoint in this category.
Pork and Apple Pudding

1 lb. self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
8 oz. shredded suet
Water to mix
1 1/2 lb. raw pork, cut into small pieces
Chopped sage to taste
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
Salt and pepper

Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl and add the suet. Mix to a soft dough with some water. Use threequarters of the pastry to line a greased 2 1/2 pint pudding basin. Put layers of the meat and apple alternately in the lined basin and season well with the sage, salt, and pepper. Close the pudding with a lid, using the remaining pastry. Fold the edges of the lining back over the edge of the lid; this will help to seal it. Cover with greased paper and a cloth or foil. Steam for 4 hours. Serves 5 to 6.

It's very difficult to type "threequarters." My fingers want to put in a space or a hyphen or SOMETHING.

So, how do you steam a pudding, especially if this is a new-to-you proposition? Let's turn to The New Joy Of Cooking:
If you do not have a pudding basin---a deep bowl of heatproof ceramic---you may use any heatproof bowl with equally good results. The steep 4- to 5-quart metal bowls that come with heavy-duty mixers are good for particularly handsome larger puddings. Grease these and all other metal bowls especially well, as puddings are more prone to sticking to metal than to glass or ceramic. ... To steam a pudding, find a pot large enough to hold the pudding basin or bowl comfortably. If you are steaming several small plum puddings, a turkey roaster, set over two burners, is convenient. (Puddings must be steamed in, not over boiling water, which rules out a double boiler.) To insulate the bottom of the pudding, set a trivet, rack, or folded dish towel in the bottom of your pot. Place the pudding in the pot, then pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway or to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pudding bowl. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to a brisk simmer. Cover the pot tightly and steam the pudding until done, checking the pot every 30 minutes or so and replenishing with boiling water as needed. When removing the cooked pudding from the pot, protect your hands with oven mitts or gloves.

So, we can fake a steamer, and steam away. The only other problem that might arise: suet. I've had the hardest time getting suet in the past; even going to a specialty butcher has met limited success. Keep trying. Call around. Suet is wonderful for these low, slow heat applications. It melts so beautifully, so slowly, so perfectly... :swoon:

Don't get me started on mincemeat. Or, hey, it's nearly October... start me on mincemeat! If I want it to be ready for Christmas, I should put some up soon...

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