This steamed pudding is nostalgia on a plate and the perfect comfort food. This classic recipe for treacle sponge pudding is a great place to start if you want to add steamed puddings to your repertoire.
Butter a 1.2 litre (2pt) pudding basin and line the base with a snug-fitting circle of nonstick baking paper. Place an upturned saucer in the base of a large lidded pan. It should fit snugly and allow for the whole pudding basin to sit inside the pan.
Make a lid for the basin by cutting out a large circle of baking paper and one of tin foil, both 6cm (2 1⁄2in) larger than the top of the basin. Butter one side of the baking paper. Put the foil on top of the paper, buttered- side down, and fold a pleat down the centre. Have some kitchen string ready to tie the lid in place when needed.
Spoon 3 tbsp golden syrup into the basin. Put the rest of the syrup in a mixing bowl with all the other sponge ingredients and whip together for a good minute using a hand-held electric beater, until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the basin, levelling the top. Cover with the foil lid, buttered-side down. Bring the sides down around the basin and tie tightly with string; leave enough string to tie a ‘handle’ with which to lift the pudding out.
Stand the basin on the saucer and carefully pour boiling water into the pan until it reaches half way up the pudding side. Place over a low heat, put the pan lid on and gently steam it for 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the sponge (through the paper and foil) comes out clean. Have a kettle of hot water ready to top up the water level if needed; it shouldn’t fall too low or boil dry. Remove the pan lid and carefully lift the pudding basin out of the saucepan.
Remove the string and pudding basin lid. Place an upturned serving plate (with a lip to catch the sauce) on top. Turn the whole lot over and lift the basin away. Serve with cream, custard or ice cream.
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