Plum, Damson and Poppy Seed Sponge Pudding

For a cool autumn night, Martin Blunos creates the perfect steamed pudding, fragrant with plums and cinnamon
By Martin Blunos
Plum, Damson and Poppy Seed Sponge Pudding
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: plus 10 minutes standing time
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus freezing and thawing time
  • Effort: easy


For the plum compote

  • 400 g damsons
  • 400 g sweet plums, halved and stoned
  • 120 g demerara sugar, (plus extra, if the plums are sharp)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the pudding

  • 115 g brown sugar
  • 115 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 120 g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • a little cold milk, (optional)
  • softened butter, for greasing
  • thick, sweetened vanilla-flavoured cream, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

The reason for freezing and defrosting the damsons is that they break down much quicker so the cooking time is less and their colour remains brighter. A non-reactive pan is made from stainless steel or enamel. Do not use aluminium or copper.


1. For the plum compote: spread the damsons on a baking tray and place them in the freezer until frozen. Defrost them overnight in a non-reactive saucepan (see cook's note, below).

2. Add the plums, sugar and cinnamon to the defrosted damsons in the saucepan, cover with a lid and cook gently over a low heat to soften. After about 10 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking for 40-50 minutes until the mixture is thick. Pick out the damson stones and adjust the sweetness with more sugar if needed. Leave the compote to cool.

3. For the pudding: grease a pudding basin with softened butter, put a disc of baking parchment in the base and grease that as well.

4. Spoon in a good amount of the compote. Reserve the remainder for serving.

5. Beat the brown sugar, butter and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and add the poppy seeds and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined and creamy. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little cold milk.

6. Dollop the batter on top of the plum compote, trying not to trap any air. Do not overfill the basin: allow at least 1.5cm from the top. Level off with a spatula, digging a dip in the middle, and cover with a disc of baking parchment.

7. Cover the basin with pleated foil, seal well and put in a steamer. Cook for a minimum of 1½ hours. (It won't hurt to cook it longer.)

8. Remove the basin from the steamer and let it stand for 10 minutes upturned on a serving plate. (The compote will be too hot to serve immediately.) If the pudding has not dropped from the basin as you lift it, then shake it a little from side to side.

9. Serve with the pudding with the reheated reserved compote and a dish of thick, sweetened vanilla-flavoured cream.

Rate This Recipe