Monday, January 22, 2007

Steamed lemon pudding

Gordon Ramsay's column in the Times magazine is not quite my cup of tea. Collections of recipes -- albeit more approachable ones than usually come from celebrity chefs -- are more dismaying than inspiring, I find. I notice the ingredients I don't have, the equipment I don't have, and the techniques in which I am deficient, and I move on. However, I have been wanting to cook a steamed pudding since the trees became bare, and I found an appealing one in Ramsay's column at the weekend. You can read it here (scroll down), so I'll merely offer my comments.

Ingredients. I did not have an unwaxed lemon, so I used an ordinary one. I used golden caster sugar. My eggs were medium; I used three whole ones. I did not make the lemon curd; we ate the pudding with cream.

2. "Whisk the butter and sugar." I do not have an electric whisk, so I have to press the butter and sugar together with a spoon. What does curdling look like in this context? My egg, sugar and egg became very grainy, as always; but everything smoothed out once I added the flour.

3. I do not own plastic pudding moulds. I have a glass basin, which worked fine. Having once ruined a baked cheesecake by allowing the surrounding water to seep into the cake tin, I was determined to protect this pudding thoroughly. I put greaseproof paper on top, surrounding it from underneath with a layer of foil. I put another layer of foil on top of the basin, wrapping it underneath. I put a third layer of foil underneath the basin, wrapping it on top. The foil clung to the basin, and did not need tying with string.

The vessel that contained the basin most snugly, but that also allowed space for water, was my 22 cm Le Creuset. I poured boiling water round the basin until it came half way up the side, brought it back to the boil on the hob, covered the pot, and simmered gently for an hour and a half. I topped up the water after an hour.

The pudding had a satisfying, moist stodginess, balanced with a lemony tang. Lovely. Thanks, Gordon.

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