My simple suet pudding recipe has been very popular, so I wanted to share some more steamed pudding recipes that I often use. Puddings steamed in the slow cooker fit so well into our busy family schedule, and since this is really 12 recipes in one, it’s one I return to again and again.
There are many reasons I love this recipe – or recipes. All the different variations mean that it never seems like we’re eating the same pudding, whilst it’s really very simple and easy to make from store cupboard ingredients. My menu rotation usually just says “steamed pudding” and I can decide on the day which variation I feel like making. Serving it with cream, evaporated milk, custard, chocolate custard (just add cocoa to ordinary custard) or even ice cream for a treat, means it never feels like “this again”.
The original recipe and some of the variations come from an old family cook book, which means no fuss and frills, and it’s also an economical recipe as it only uses one egg and margarine instead of butter. I have made all of the variations except Variation 7 (Fig), but I’m including it from the original recipe as I have no reason to believe it won’t work just as well as the other variations – it’s just that dried figs are not something I ever buy!
I make some of these steamed pudding recipes much more frequently than the others – Variations 1 and 2 are probably the ones I make the most. I don’t often make the lemon version as written, due to the cost of two whole lemons if you include the sauce. To be honest, the Foundation Recipe with a dollop of lemon curd is a pretty good way to go!
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it uses the “rubbing-in” method for the cake, meaning you don’t need a food mixer. I didn’t have one for years, and so have a good stock of recipes that avoid the “creaming” method. A friend of mine was delighted a few years back when I passed these recipes on to her while she was having her kitchen renovated – she had no oven or appliances, but all you need for this is a plug socket for your slow cooker and a couple of bowls!Jump to the printable recipe
Using a Slow Cooker to Steam Puddings
The real key to making this and any other steamed pudding recipe as quickly and easily as possible is using a slow cooker and a lidded pudding basin.
I have a 2 pint pudding basin with a lid from Just Pudding Basins. Okay, it’s plastic, but I’ve been using it for years, I’m never going to buy another one* and I am not using greaseproof, foil and string every time I make a pudding. It fits neatly inside my basic slow cooker and it is such a time-saver.
If I had to use a stove top steamer, I wouldn’t make steamed puddings nearly as often as I do. A pudding steaming on the hob can’t be left alone while you leave the house, whereas I’m happy to leave the slow cooker on when I’m out – just make sure there’s plenty of water in it. Using a slow cooker also leaves the hob and oven free for whatever else you are cooking. And fiddling about wrapping a pudding basin with greaseproof, foil and string, is not something I have time for – especially since in the slow cooker the pudding sits in the water rather than above it, so you have to take extra care with wrapping to avoid a soggy pudding.
A real plus point for steamed puddings in general is that they cook for a long time so you have no last-minute faffing to do around meal times. You can attend to the rest of your meal and your hungry children. These puddings will come to no harm they are left a little beyond the stated cooking time, just make sure there is enough water in the slow cooker. If you have chosen a variation with a sauce, they can easily be made earlier in the day and reheated, or if you’ve forgotten or things just aren’t going to plan, just stick a pot of jam and/or tin of evaporated milk on the table, and it’ll be fine!
*I have in fact now bought three more 2 pint pudding basins from Just Pudding Basins in a fabulous gold colour, because I’m now making our three Christmas puddings every year (my mother used to do this for us). They are stored away full of pudding for couple of months every year at the same time, so we needed the extra ones.
Here is the recipe breakdown – scroll down for a printable version.
The Steamed Pudding Recipes
Fill and boil the kettle. Put a little hot water in the bottom of the slow cooker and start pre-heating it on High whilst you assemble the pudding.
Butter the pudding basin and lid.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium to large bowl. I very often use self-raising flour instead of plain flour, and if you do this, omit the baking powder.
Rub the fat into the flour mixture. I use butter if I can for a better flavour, but margarine works fine.
Stir in the sugar. It doesn’t matter if you choose caster sugar, granulated sugar or light soft brown sugar – I have used all of these or a mixture with success, the result is just a slight difference in flavour. I also usually have vanilla sugar on hand (I keep caster sugar in an old coffee jar with an ancient vanilla pod) and you can use a little of this to add a vanilla flavour to the pudding if the variation you are choosing would suit it – Version 2 (Chocolate) works well with a little vanilla sugar.
If you are making one of the Variations, you will probably have other ingredients to add at this point.
Next in a small bowl or jug, beat an egg along with 1/4 pint of milk. Whole or semi-skimmed milk both work fine – I’ve never tried it with non-dairy milks, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. It makes quite a wet batter.
Pour the batter into the pudding basin.
Cover the basin with a lid, or if you’re using a traditional pudding basin, cover it in greaseproof then foil in the usual way. If you are doing the latter and you are ‘steaming’ in the slow cooker, where the basin is in contact with the water, rather than a in stove-top steamer where it isn’t, it is better to wrap the foil around the basin from the bottom up, rather than top down as you probably normally would. This prevents water getting to the greaseproof, which (depending on the greaseproof) then wicks up and on to your pudding.
Place the pudding basin in the slow cooker and then add more boiling water around it until it comes about half way up the pudding basin.
Cook for 2 hours on High (or simmer for the same length of time in a steamer) but no harm will come to it if it has to stay in for a bit longer. If I’ve made the variation with jam in the bottom in particular, I often turn the cooker off when I’m dishing up the main course of our meal, so that the jam is not horrifically hot when I come to serve it.
When you are ready to serve, remove the pudding and turn it out of the basin on to a plate. You may need to run a flat-bladed knife around the sides of the pudding to release it.
If you’ve chosen one of the steamed pudding recipes with a sauce, either pour it over the top of the pudding before serving, or (as my family prefers) put the sauce on the table for people to help themselves.
This is the Foundation Recipe, served with raspberry jam sauce
This is Variation 3, lemon with lemon sauce.
(The bowl might not have been properly greased, and it got a bit stuck – still tasted lovely though!)
Sometimes I add some candied peel to the mixture of this one.
This is Variation 6, with mixed dried fruit.
This is Variation 1, with strawberry jam and custard.
This is Variation 12, made with brown sugar and walnuts.
12 Steamed Puddings from One Recipe
- 6 oz plain flour (or use self-raising flour and omit the baking powder)
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2.5 oz butter or margarine
- 3 oz sugar (use either white, soft light brown or a mixture)
- 1 egg
- ¼ pint milk (either whole or semi-skimmed work fine)
- Fill and boil the kettle. Put a little hot water in the bottom of the slow cooker and start pre-heating it on High whilst you assemble the pudding.
- Butter a 2 pint pudding basin and lid.
- Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
- Rub the fat into the flour mixture.
- Stir the sugar into the flour mixture.
- Beat the egg and milk together in a jug or small bowl.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it comes together.
- Pour the batter into the pudding basin and cover.
- Place the pudding basin in the slow cooker and top up the cooker with boiling water until it comes about half way up the pudding basin.
- Cook for 2 hours on High.
- Remove the pudding from the slow cooker and turn it out of the basin on to a plate. Serve with jam sauce.
- (Jam) Put about 3 tablespoonfuls of any jam of your choice into the bottom of the pudding basin before you pour in the batter. Serve with custard.
- (Chocolate) Add 1oz of cocoa powder to the flour, and use a little extra milk (about 2 tablespoonfuls).
- (Lemon) Add the finely grated zest and juice of a lemon to the dry ingredients. Use a little less milk for mixing and serve with a lemon sauce.
- (Orange) Add the finely grated zest and juice of an orange to the dry indredients. Use a little less milk for mixing and serve with an orange sauce.
- (Raisin) Add about 1oz of chopped raisins to the mixture when you add the sugar. Serve with custard.
- (Mixed Dried Fruit) Add up to 2oz of mixed dried fruit (the sort that contains candied peel), or a mixture of dried fruit of your choice (eg cranberries, blueberries).
- (Fig) Chop 3oz of dried figs and add to the dry ingredients. Serve with cream.
- (Date) Chop 2-3oz of stoned dates and add to the mixture with the sugar. Serve with lemon sauce.
- (Strawberry) Mix 3 tablespoonfuls of strawberry jam into the dry ingredeients when you add the sugar. You can add a few drops of red food colouring if you like. Serve with strawberry jam sauce.
- (Coconut) Add 2oz of desiccated coconut to the dry ingredients when you add the sugar. Serve with cream.
- (Cherry) Halve 3oz of glace cherries and add to the mixture. Serve with custard.
- (Nut) Add 3oz of finely chopped nuts to the dry indredients. Arrange some halved walnuts (or pecans) around the basin before you pour in the batter – try to do this without dislodging the walnuts. Serve with maple syrup or custard.
- (Jam Sauce) Put 1.5oz of white sugar and 75ml water (yes, I know I'm mixing my units, but it's what's easiest to measure for me!) in a small saucepan and boil up until it starts turning syrupy. Add 2 heaped tablespoonfuls of the jam or marmalade of your choice. Boil up again until you have a homogenous sauce. You can add a little lemon juice to improve the flavour if you have it. I most often do this with seedless rasberry jam – depending on your choice of jam you might like to strain it before serving.
- (Lemon Sauce) Put ½ pint water in a small saucepan and finely pare a lemon into it with a vegetable peeler. You could zest the lemon with a grater if you prefer. Boil the zest and water for a minute or two. Mix ½ oz cornflour with a little more cold water and add that to the saucepan. Cook for a few minutes more, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove the lemon peel and add approximately 1oz of sugar or to taste.
- (Orange Sauce) As for the Lemon Sauce, but use an orange instead. You will need less sugar.
If I’m not making steamed puddings, I’m almost always making yoghurts! See all my super-simple family yoghurt recipes here.