All meat puddings are more conveniently made in deep pans, moulds, or basins having a thick rim, below which the cloths can be tied without the hazard of their slipping off; and as the puddings should by no means be turned out before they are sent to table, one to match the dinner-service, at least in colour, is desirable.† Roll out a suet crust to half an inch in thickness, line evenly with it a quart, or any other sized basin that may be preferred, and raise the crust from an inch and a half to two inches above the edge. Fill it with layers of well-kept rump-steak, neatly trimmed, and seasoned with salt and pepper, or cayenne; pour in some cold water to make the gravy; roll out the cover, moisten the edge, as well as that of the pudding; draw and press them together carefully, fold them over, shake out a cloth which has been dipped into hot water, wrung out, and well floured; tie it over the pudding, gather the corners together, tie them over the top of the pudding, put it into plenty of fast boiling water, and let it remain in from three to five hours, according to its size. The instant it is lifted out, stick a fork quite through the middle of the paste to prevent its bursting; remove the cloth quickly, and cut a small round or square in the top to allow the steam to escape, and serve the pudding immediately. Though not considered very admissible to an elegantly served table, this is a favourite dish with many persons, and is often in great esteem with sportsmen, for whom it is provided in preference to fare which requires greater exactness in the time of cooking; as an additional hour’s boiling, or even more, will have little effect on a large pudding of this kind, beyond reducing the quantity of gravy, and rendering it very thick.
Some cooks flour the meat slightly before it is laid into the crust, out we do not think it an improvement: where fat is liked, a portion may be added with the lean, but all skin and sinew should be carefully rejected. Beat the steak with a paste roller, or cutlet-bat, should it not appear to be perfectly tender, and divide it into portions about the width of two fingers. Two or three dozens of oysters, bearded and washed free from grit in their own liquor (which should afterwards be strained and poured into the pudding), may be intermingled with the meat.
A true epicurean receipt for this dish directs the paste to be made with veal-kidney suet, and filled with alternate layers of the inside of the sirloin, sliced and seasoned, and of fine plump native oysters, intermixed with an occasional small slice of the veal fat.
† It is now customary in some families to have both meat and fruit puddings boiled and served in pie or tart-dishes. They are lined entirely with very thin crust, or merely edged with it, according to taste; then filled, closed, and cooked in the usual manner. The plan is a good and convenient one, where the light upper-crust is preferred to the heavy and sodden part which is under the meat. In Kent and Sussex, shallow pans, in form somewhat resembling a large deep saucer, are sold expressly for boiling meat puddings.