Basic Steamed Sponge Pudding

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Method

Use a large saucepan or preserving pan and put a metal trivet, an old saucer or metal pastry cutter in it to keep the base of the pudding basin off the bottom of the pan. The saucepan should be half filled with water and put on to boil while you prepare the pudding mixture. While the pudding is cooking remember to keep an eye on the water level and top it up with more boiling water if necessary. To serve 6 you will need a 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding basin.

  1. In a large bowl beat together 125 g (4 oz) butter and 125 g (4 oz) caster sugar until soft and fluffy, then stir in the grated rind of 1 lemon. Slowly beat in 3 beaten eggs. Sift in 75 g (3 oz) self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. With a large metal spoon fold in 75 g (3 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs. Add just enough milk to give the pudding mixture a dropping consistency.

  2. Line the base of the pudding basin with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper cut to fit. Butter the sides of the basin well. Spoon in the pudding mixture. Top the basin with 2 layers of greaseproof paper, the bottom sheet buttered, and pleated together across the middle. Cover with a sheet of foil much larger than the top of the basin, mould it round the basin, then tie the greasepaper and foil securely round the rim with string.

  3. Draw up the 4 corners of the foil and twist and scrunch together in the centre to make a handle for lifting the basin in and out of the saucepan. Steam in the covered pan for about 2 hours, with the water boiling gently. Carefully lift out the pudding basin, remove the foil and greaseproof paper and leave to cool just slightly. Turn out on to a warm serving plate and serve with cream or custard.

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