Sloe jam steamed pudding

Gather round - Rachel Allens please-all pud uses the free bounty of autumn hedgerows for a bittersweet finish
By Rachel Allen
Sloe jam steamed pudding
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the sloe jam

  • 400 g sloes
  • 325 g caster sugar

For the pudding

  • 200 g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • lightly whipped cream, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

Autumn is the season for sloes - however, its best not to pick them until after the first frost, which could be anywhere between mid-September and November.

If you cant find sloes or dont want to make the jam, substitute a ready-made berry or fruits of the forest jam.

For best results when making a pudding batter, remember to beat the butter and sugar together really well at the beginning. You can achieve the right fluffiness beating by hand but an electric mixer is most effective.

Method

1. For the sloe jam: put the sloes in a saucepan with a dash of water. Cook over a medium heat until the flesh of the fruit has collapsed and is very soft. Press the pulp through a wide sieve and into a clean saucepan, discarding the stones and skins left in the sieve.

2. Add the sugar to the sloe pulp and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the jam has reached setting point, then remove from the heat. Put the jam to one side if using straight away, or pour it into a sterilised jar, then seal and store until needed.

3. For the pudding: lightly butter a 1 litre pudding basin. In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract, beating well between each addition.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and mix into the batter until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk and stir to a dropping consistency.

5. Pour 125ml of the jam into the base of the greased pudding basin, then spoon in the sponge batter. Cut a circle of parchment paper at least 4cm larger than the top of the basin. Pleat it in the middle and secure the sheet over the lip of the basin with heatproof string.

6. Sit an inverted saucer in a saucepan not much bigger than the pudding basin, then place the pudding on it. Carefully pour in enough hot water to come no higher than three-quarters of the way up the side of the basin.

7. Cover and simmer the pudding for approximately 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, and the pudding feels spongy. Keep the water topped up in the saucepan during cooking, otherwise it may boil dry.

8. Carefully remove the basin from the saucepan and turn the pudding out onto a warmed serving plate, allowing the jam to spill down the side. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

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