April 27, 2010

The Proof Is In The Pudding – Steamed Sticky Date Pudding And Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding! Daring Baker’s Challenge April, 2010

When this month’s challenge was revealed at the Daring Bakers forum, to say I wasn’t exactly thrilled would be an understatement. The reason being, as you would all know by now, that the nature of the main ingredient was not exactly palatable given my vegetarian diet or my sensibilities.

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Of course, this being a personal opinion, I was planning to sit out this challenge till Esther clarified that we could use butter. The main challenge this month was to make a steam cooked British style “pud”, sweet or savoury, using any recipe of our choice.
That made things a whole lot better.

Steam cooking is something I’m very familiar with. As a south Indian, a lot of our traditional cooking involves steaming, especially quite a few of our breakfast dishes which are cooked this way.
So the method of cooking this involved in this month’s pudding wasn’t a challenge for me, and I’m sure for most of the DB members of Asian origin.

Sticky Date Pudding With Butterscotch Sauce:

Yet I have never made a steamed British style pudding even though I have always wanted to try my hand at a sticky date pudding. Well, this was the perfect opportunity. We love dates and I always have some in stock.

I adapted this recipe and adjusted it to ingredient, taste and serving preferences. Here’s my recipe and I used dariole moulds to make single serves rather than one big pudding. This recipe serves 5 or 6, depending on the size of your moulds.


For the pudding:

1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup boiling water

50 gm butter, softened (at room temperature)

3/4 cup loosely packed demerara (or brown) sugar

1 egg

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

For the butterscotch sauce:

3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 cup light cream (25%)

60 gm butter


To make the butterscotch sauce, put all three ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together till combined. Over low heat, keep stirring the sauce till the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and keep aside.

To make the pudding:

Put the dates in a bowl and add the boiling water. Now add the baking soda, mix and allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes.
Blend the mixture till smooth. I prefer to blend till the mixture is smooth with some small date pieces in it.

Put the date mixture into a bowl and add the butter, egg, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon till combined. Divide the mixture equally between 5 or 6 well greased moulds.

Cover the moulds with aluminium foil squares making a fold in the center. This will allow the pudding to rise well. Tie the foil down using string or with rubber bands. If you’re using rubber bands, ensure they’re not the kind that melts!
Place the moulds on a steamer plate ensuring there is enough water in it but the level is not too high to get into the moulds.
Steam cook the puddings for about 30 to 45 minutes. If you poke a skewer through the pudding it should come out clean when done.

Remove the puddings from the steamer and remove the foil caps. Allow to cool in the moulds for about 10 minutes and then unmould the puddings. They should slip out easily.

These puddings are normally served warm during winter, but given the heat of the summer right now, I served the puddings at room temperature with chilled butterscotch sauce.

Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Pudding:

I did initially experiment with a steamed jam sponge from one of my cookbooks - Traditional Puddings and Desserts by Mary Berry. This book has a wonderful variety of desserts which are quite easy to make.

While that pudding turned out well, I wasn’t particularly excited by the jam in it. This is probably because I’m not overly found of jam and find it too sweet.

So I decided to use that Jam Pudding recipe and adapt it to make a marbled chocolate and vanilla pudding. The recipe I used to make my pudding is given below. This recipe serves 4.


For the pudding:

100 gm butter, softened (at room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

about 1 tbsp milk

2 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the eggless custard sauce:

500 ml cold milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp vanilla flavoured custard powder


To make the custard sauce, keep aside about 1/4 cup milk aside. Boil the remaining with sugar. Dissolve the custard powder in the 1/4 cup milk and add it to the boiling milk, stirring constantly to ensure no lumps form.
Keep stirring the mixture till the custard thickens a bit into a sauce.

To make the pudding:

Sieve the baking powder, salt and flour together and keep aside.
Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and beat well. Add the flour and fold it into the mixture with a spoon. Add just enough milk to give the batter a dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture into two equal portions. To one add the vanilla extract and mix well. Blend the cocoa powder with a little water to a thick paste and add to the other portion. Mix well.

Grease individual four dariole moulds with butter or oil and put alternate spoons full of batter equally into the moulds.

Cover the moulds with aluminium foil squares making a fold in the center. This will allow the pudding to rise well. Tie the foil down using string or with rubber bands. If you’re using rubber bands, ensure they’re not the kind that melts!

Place the moulds on a steamer plate ensuring there is enough water in it but the level is not too high to get into the moulds.
Steam cook the puddings for about 30 to 45 minutes. If you poke a skewer through the pudding it should come out clean when done.

Remove the puddings from the steamer and remove the foil caps. Allow to cool in the moulds for about 10 minutes and then unmould the puddings. They should slip out easily.
Serve the puddings with the custard sauce.


As a Daring Baker challenge, there was very little that challenged me this month. I'm not complaining as it is nice, once in a while, to be within my kitchen comfort zone and not get myself worked up over a DB challenge!
We liked both the puddings. In fact, I should say we like steamed sponge puddings. I think what I really liked was the spongy texture of the puddings with its moist and melt-in-the-mouth quality.

While these puddings might not be unusual or very pretty to look at, they are very easy to make and are an excellent choice when the demand is for a dessert with a light feel.

The sticky date pudding was definitely the star of this show.
In fact, the first time I made it I wasn’t able to get pictures of it. Our daughter actually suggested, with my husband agreeing very enthusiastically, that I could make it again so that I could get my pictures and they could have it for dessert again.
Akshaya doesn’t make this sort of statements very often!

Oh, and do not forget to take a peek at what the other Daring Bakers have been doing this month.

P.S. :
It seems that some of the comments are not appearing on my previous couple of posts. I have no idea why this is happening and have complained.
So it is possible that you might find your comment not appearing as soon as you push "Publish" button. I don't know where it is going either.
I am hoping the problem will be solved soon. Thanks for bearing with me.


Happy Cook said...

Wow you mad two puds. Ilike the first one that looks absloutley yumm ,could be the sauce too, so i am partial.

s said...

u made sticky date pudding too!!!obviously urs looks great mine looks like an ugly duckling!!!
Tha marbled pudding looks sooooo wonderful.

MeetaK said...

you are a pudding queen aparna! love all your variations. brava!

Poires au Chocolat said...

Looks yummy. I've only ever made baked sticky toffee date puddings - must try steaming them too!

Renata said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I'm sure they are very yummy! I love your photos!

Gala said...

Your puddings look gorgeous!

shaliniv said...

Awesomeeeee pudding... and tht too steamed.... am gonna try this rite away.

Pls visit my website:

Nachiketa said...

Hi! Aparna,

Saw your blog many times but fell in love when Deeba n you hosted the Tiramisu one. Awesome stuff.

That DB pushed me from the fence n finally joined the group in March, in time for the April Challenge. I made Steamed Chocolate Pudding & Steamed Apple n Caramel Pudding for Daring Bakers April 2010 - My First Challenge...

The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Love the variations, Aparna!!

Nupur said...

Delicious! I love the yin-yang tone of the marbled pudding. You did a fantastic job adapting these!

Lisa said...

Love those little puddings!

Ivy said...

Great job Aparna. Love your puddings.

Audax said...

I think I would go with your family and the sticky date pud for me to! Yes I agree steamed puddings have a high comfort food factor so moist yet light and so easy to make. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Lori said...

All very delicious looking!

Ruth H. said...

Oh my goodness do those look good! The butterscotch sauce sounds amazing, and you made an eggless custard! I would have loved to have found such a recipe! That chocolate and vanilla swirl pudding is going on my list! Thank for your inspirational ideas from a fellow vegetarian Daring Baker!!

Yasmeen said...

Simply sensational!

Sue said...

I love the look of your pudding. Your custard sauce looks like a beautiful drapery. I bet the dates made this a very rich pudding. Wish I could have a bite. :)

elra said...

Wow, your pudding look delicious! Well done for this month challenge.

A&N said...

You make it sound so simple! Great job as always, Aparna :)

tariqata said...

I'm going to try your sticky date pudding; it sounds like a delicious version of it.

I only wish that when I do, my photos would come out as gorgeously as yours did!

Manggy said...

I almost can't believe how many people weren't looking forward to this - I love traditional puddings! I like both puds you made :)

Maya said...

The puddings look great! I made date toffee puddings too!

Deeba PAB said...

Beautifully done Aparna, and beautiful pictures too. Can see the new cam at work. I'd love to try your version of the pud! Thanks for bearing with my endless questions on the challenge! Was a fun one!!

kristenly said...

beautiful puddings (and photography)! i know what you mean about the suet...it turned me off the challenge for a bit too. so glad that we could use butter!

The Betz Family said...

Wow, your sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce looks beautiful and sounds delicious! Great job on the challenge!

suma said...

Gorgeous puddings Aparna!! Sigh!!!

culinography said...

Beautiful as always! Well done!

R said...

amazing!! really nice, can u substitute the egg with something else, as i am planning to make it for a friend who does not eat eggs??

Top Fuzz said...

That sticky date pudding is a winner. It looks so good! I will definitely 'steal' your recipe at some point! :) Well done!

innBrooklyn said...

both your puddings look amazing: though I think the sticky date is my favourite! i love them in the individual molds too!

sra said...

Why did i think puddings were easier than cakes? your marble pudding certainly needed as much prep as cake! guess i never took the flour into consideration, though I do know many puddings contain flour!

Laura said...

Your puddings look amazing! I especially love how you styled the picture of the sticky date pudding. Stunning!

Yvette said...

Great job on this months challenge! the sticky date pudding looks yummy;D

Mary said...

Your sticky date pudding looks fantastic, and I plan to make one for the holidays (if I remember by then!). Glad your family enjoyed them:)

Cham said...

The sauce flowing over looks excellent. I never tasted the puds! All came out perfectly!

crumbsoflove said...

They both look great but I would like to try the vanilla chocolate marbled one!great job

Amy Lucille said...

Looks really good, I will have to try to make a sweet pudding soon.

Aparna said...

Thanks everyone. Really apppreciate the commnets, especially about my pictures. :)

You wouldn't look forward to it if you were like me, Mark and were asked to use suet, if possible. LOL

Thanks Deeba. Was happy to help. :) So you give the camera all the credit for my pictures? ;-D

Thank you R.
I have seen recipes with people using Ener-G kind of egg substitutes but never tried it as I don't get that here.
If you do a search for "vegan steamed puddings" you'll find a recipe which suits you and can use vegetarian options for the vegan ingredients other than egg.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Absolutely gorgeous puddings! Very very nicely done.

sasasunakku said...

Ooh, we did the same pud! Yours has sauce on though, I forgot to take a photo and just ate it up, hehe.

Hari Chandana said...

Wowwww... wonderful recipe dear.. looks soooooooooooooo beautiful.. lovely presentation.. :)

jayasri said...

WOW!!, excellent looking pud!!, I saw it in the DB Roll, wanted to post it on time, thought I will check later otherwise I get carried away!!, You have become an amazing photographer now my BM is becoming big!!, Look now I have to make these two!!, absolutely gorgeous they look and love the clicks too.., great presentation...

LittleRed said...

I so love sticky date pudding:) We had just made some the other week so I wanted to try something else. Yours looks fabulous. I think I may need to make another:)

chef_d said...

That sticky date pudding looks so delicious with the butterscotch sauce! Great Job !

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I love all things date, so that sticky date pudding would be a winner in my book! Great job.

silverrock said...

Your puddings are gorgeous, and the butterscotch pudding is a beautiful addition! Love your photos, good enough for a cook-book IMO. Keep up the amazing bakes!

Asha @ FSK said...

that lookey very very yummy!! am yet to make mine.. where did the month go??!!! hope it turns out as pretty!

Nags said...

that looks yum! i am all for steamed puds :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Both puddings look fantastic and extremely tempting!



Natalie... said...

Oh my this looks amazingly delicious :) Yummm. I bet it tasted gorgeous.

Sunshinemom said...

The first pic looks like a Princess in a gown!! So beautifully done:)

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Both puddings look and sound divine!! I especially loved the picture of the sticky date w/butterscotch pudding! :)

Marty said...

Dried dates are a fantastic ingredient so I'm sure your pudding was delicious. Going through your blog, I see that you bake all I things I love. Great job! Thanks for stopping by at my space :-)

NYC Personal Injury Attorney said...

Such comforting desserts. Thanks a lot for sharing these ideas and recipes.

Marcellina said...

Ooooh your pudding look so delicious! I particularly like the sticky date. I usually do this one in the oven in a bain marie but I must try steaming it. Lovely pics!

natalia said...

Ciao ! I find all your puddings delicious !! Especially the date one the photos are great too !

Poonam said...

both of them look fantastic!! love the pics too :)

Bridget ~The Internet Chef said...

Well done for your first attempt at a British classic. My grandmothers were both artisans at the traditional steamed pudd. Lovely, comforting and tasty! Cant go wrong with a good pudding : )