Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers get steamy!

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. 


Suet? The stuff we feed to birds? Yup, that's the stuff:) This challenge caused a bit of controversy in the forums, right from the moment it was posted. Some declined to participate this month, while others looked for suet substitutes. Many got right to it and started producing puddings. I wasn't one of those, of course. I thought it sounded like a really interesting challenge, as I had never cooked with suet, but we were having a freak heat wave when it was announced, and the idea of steaming something for 5 hours did not appeal. Luckily (?) the weather reverted to seasonal chilliness and the challenge was on!


I went to the butcher shop looking for suet, and I swear the butcher did a happy dance when I asked for it. He came racing across the store to with a container of veal suet and questions about what I was going to do with it. He was quite happy that I was making something to eat and not bird food with it. Butchers are so enthusiastic about their craft! I don't eat that much meat, so I rarely go to the butcher's, but this one is my new go-to shop. In fact I went back later in the week to get the ingredients for the filling, but first let me tell you about rendering the suet.


Do not do this at home! The suet has no smell when cold, but when heated it immediately filled my apartment with this super-greasy smell. I do believe I sat there for the whole hour it took with a wrinkled up nose, feeling nauseous, and waiting for it to be ready. Of course, this was after I had separated the fat from all the attached membranes, but that part was fine--I'm not squeamish in the kitchen at all. I won't show you any photos of the suet, as it may be harrowing for some (like me--no need to relive the smell). The suet pastry was odourless, though, and very easy to make and work with. 


Now I needed to decide what to fill the puddings with. I decided to go with veal, as I was using veal suet. I know this doesn't make much sense, but bear with me. Most recipes seemed to include chunks of meat, as in steak and kidney pudding. I wondered if a larger cut of meat would work, so I bought some veal shanks and made osso bucco. I seasoned and browned the veal shanks, but removed one and refrigerated it, browned, but still raw inside, for the pudding. I didn't want it to be overcooked inside the crust, and I was afraid this was going to be a very expensive waste, with the price of veal shanks. I cooked one shank in the sauce made with marsala (remember the tiramisu challenge?), reduced and cooled the sauce, and then used it with the reserved piece of veal shank in the pudding.


I lined the 0.5L pudding basin with the pastry and put in lots of the sauce and vegetables, with the veal shank nestled in the middle. I then covered it with more pastry and trussed it like a turkey (actually, wrapped it in pleated wax paper and foil, tied the layers tightly to the bowl, and made a string handle). It was now ready to steam, which I did stovetop in a large pot, with an inch or two of gently boiling water, for 3.5 hours. It was well past bedtime then, so I put it in the fridge and reheated it for dinner the next day by steaming it for an hour.


Not the best photo, but this is the inside of the osso bucco pudding, with some gremolata sprinkled on top. It was delicious! The veal shank I cooked inside the pudding was much more tender and flavourful than the one I cooked on top of the stove. The sauce had that wonderful gelatinous quality and the bone marrow was fantastic with some salt and gremolata. The suet crust, however, I didn't like at all. It browned beautifully, and rose, but it was just a bit odd in texture and didn't seem to have much flavour. Maybe I was still disturbed by the rendering, or maybe it just needed more salt, but I ended up throwing it all away. 


For the sweet pudding, I decided to go with a Sussex Pond pudding. This pudding is made by encasing a whole lemon with lots of brown sugar and butter in a suet crush and steaming until a sauce is formed. I just wanted to make a tiny one, so I used a small Meyer lemon and a few kumquats. 
I sliced the fruit thinly, and refrigerated it overnight with the brown sugar and a few crushed pods of cardamom. The next day, I put it in the crust in a 0.2L pudding basin, layering an obscene amount of butter above and below the fruit. I should only have steamed this for an hour, as it was so small, but I left it for 2 hours, so I did not get the pond effect of the sauce running out. Instead it was a thick marmalade-like filling. It was absolutely delicious, and I ate most of it before I managed to stop myself and get a picture, hence the copious amount of whipped cream. I still didn't love the suet crust, but it was better here. 
Update! I came home from work today and decided to make a third pudding. This time I chose a chocolate sponge pudding made with butter. I followed this recipe, but lined the buttered pudding basin with sliced almonds and sugar, and added a few tablespoons of Amaretto to the batter. A half recipe steamed in a 0.5L basin for 45 minutes, and was rich, dense and delicious. 



This was such an interesting challenge--it was the first time since I joined that I used a totally new ingredient! Check out the slideshow to see all the fantastic pudding creations by the Daring Bakers. 

58 comments:

Valerie said...

Mary, you did a great job on this! Both the sweet and savory puddings look perfect. I can't believe it's already the 27th!!

Nicely done. Way to stick to it through the smell. :)

laurie said...

Your post made me laugh!! But they look great especially the chocolate one :)

Audax said...

I'm impressed that you used real suet and put up with the smell. Yes my butcher did the happy dance also he likes recipe reveal days. The Sussex Pond looks wonderful but the chocolate pudding is exquisite superb work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Silke said...

Oh my god... this looks so good.
Although it is just morning your photos make my mouth water. I simply love it!

Poires au Chocolat said...

Gorgeous! A wonderful variety, Mary. I particularly like the look of the last one... yum.

Top Fuzz said...

You used real suet! Amazing! I feel like such a cop out now for just buying the dried stuff in the supermarket. Your puddings look amazing, especially the chocolate sponge with the almonds. I've only just had breakfast but I seriously want some of that pudding!

Great challenge! :)

Charlotte said...

your osso bucco pudding looks so delicious. thank you for sharing your experience with the suet, your warning made me chuckle :p

Katie said...

Mary, these puds look great! Particularly the chocolate and almond one, very creative! Well done :)

shelley c. said...

You were truly daring to use real suet, and so funny how excited the butcher was. He must have been so happy that someone actually knew what it was! All three of your versions look so delicious! Fantastic job,

Lucy said...

Hi!

You have put in sooo much effort this month - your challenges look amazing!

Also - your new blog header is making me even more jealous I can't get those cutters in the UK!!

Valérie said...

This is amazing! Osso bucco pudding sounds mouth-watering! And the almond-chocolate pudding is so pretty! You did a fantastic job!

Jeanne said...

After reading your post, I'm happy that I took the lazy way out and didn't render the suet. Your puddings look fantastic, especially the osso bucco filling! Excellent work on this challenge!

Maya said...

Great job on the challenge! The puddings look spectacular!

Laura said...

Wow and again wow!! I love the look of your osso bucco pud--so creative and the gremolata garnish really look great. Love the idea of meyer lemon and kumquat Sussex pond pudding (I wanted to make this because it sounds so cool, but couldn't bring myself to use the vast amount of butter).
And isn't that chocolate pud just killer? Great idea to use almonds and amaretto (I am so going to try that next time I make this!).

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

Hello Mary, thanks for your comment on my pudding. I am impressed that you made three of them. The osso bucco one looks really good. Sorry to hear that the suet smelled out your house. Maybe it was a good thing I couldn't get it anywhere.

tariqata said...

Even though I don't generally like meat, your veal pie looks delicious!

And the chocolate and almond one is bookmarked - that I'm going to have to make as soon as I can!

Baking Addict said...

Well done on the challenge! Can't believe you made 3. Unfortunately I had to sit this one out but will try the recipes one day. Hope to get back in for May. The sweet pudding is my favourite - meyer lemon and kumquat - yum!

elra said...

Impressive, truly impressive! I especially like your savory version. It looks so good! Well done!

justforlicks said...

I was not even considering making a savory pudding until I saw your osso bucco. It looks amazing - so delicious! I might have to give this a try.

The Betz Family said...

Great job on your puddings! I love the color of your crust on the veal pudding, and I've seen quite a few varieties of the sussex pond. I am thinking of making another version tonight after reading all these great recipes. Nice job on your challenge!

kristenly said...

your puddings turned out so pretty...even the savory one. i especially like how you put the nuts on the outside of the last one. well done!

Anna said...

Wow, nice job trying three different types! They all look really nice.

Basht said...

Wow, good job! i'm blown away with all the work you put into this challenge!

crumbsoflove said...

Good on you for using real suet. Great Job!!

Suzler said...

What a great read! I'm so impressed that you went to the butcher for the suet. You're braver than me! I stuck with safe old boxed suet. Sorry it was such an unpleasant experience for you.

All your puddings look and sound fabulous. It's a shame you weren't keen on the crust. Mind you, the veal looks so incredible that it'd be hard to live up to!

I'm really intrigued by the Sussex Pond pudding - I'd never heard of that before. I love the idea of a self-marmalading pud - I'm not surprised you found it hard to stop eating! (I was like that with my jam sponge. Gone in sixty seconds!)

Great job on the challenge. Congratulations!

Erin@The Sweet Life said...

I am intrigued and impressed. That sounds like a VERY time consuming project, but it sounds like it was worth it, too. I've always wondered about suet...I thought it was similar to lard. Is it?

Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz said...

What does a butcher happy dance look like? hehe. Like you I tried the crust one but with lard (Crisco) and hated the crust. Should have tried the cake version since you like it better.

Marcellina said...

All your puddings look lovely but the veal shank really looks mouth watering.

bake in paris said...

Wow, you did go all the way with this challenge, 3 puddings? How many hours did you spend on them? But they all look wonderful, especially the chocolate sponge pudding. Such a delish!

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

Jenny said...

Your puddings look amazing! Wish I had a slice of the chocolate sponge right now...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your pies look fantastic! I particularly love the savory one which looks ever so perfect and tasty!

Cheers,

Rosa

Ago said...

Hi Mary! Great your puddings, i love all of them!
This time I've used butter, but I would try with suet :-D surely early!
Kisses
Ago :-D

Renata said...

On my first DBC I wasn't as brave as you were but I have to admit that after seeing all these fantastic suet crusts I've been really considering a try! These are mouthwatering! Congratulations Mary!

Renata said...

and... chocolate, almonds and Amaretto.... I'm speechless....

Nachiketa said...

You've used suet in it's natural form... awesome :)

lovely pictures...

The chocolate pudding's loking very yummy :)

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

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Great job!! Good advice about the rendering of the suet...I'm so glad I used the vegetable suet :)

Tadeja said...

I love both of yours puddings, savory and sweet. It's a great idea made "osso bucco pudding" . I don't know how the suet smells like, I had no problem with lard, I also have melted lard and I was scared about odour, it turned out that pork lard is less smell, almost no smell, comparing to pork fat.

kellypea said...

Pretty darn impressive! I'm wrinkling my nose up at your description of the smell, but wow that's one amazing savory filling. How creative to think of putting osso buco in a pudding. Nice job! I'll have to see if I can do this next weekend (without suet...) :)

lasinthekitchen said...

Wow, your puddings look AMAZING! =) I cannot believe that you used the same suet pastry for the savory and sweet puddings - had to make for an interesting dessert!

Laura said...

Mary, I love the three types! The one with ossobuco looks delicious, and I really want to try the one with the whole lemon next time.

Well done!

jayasri said...

you have done a good job!, first time here!!, you have a lovely blog, I loved the last pud, Chocolately one, I must try that one!!

Lara said...

Wow, Mary, your challenges turned out absolutely great!! And what a beautiful pics too!! Love that chocolate one with Amaretto and almonds ;-)
Greetings from Spain!!

silverrock said...

Your savory pudding looks gorgeous! "Not the best photo" <-- don't be silly, your photo shows the tasty insides of your pudding beautifully. And the amaretto chocolate pudding looks heavenly. Way to go, and keep up the great bakes!

anjelikuh said...

I love your almond studded pudding, its great how you made both the savory and sweet version. Your osso bucco pudding is genius, that must be the most tender piece of meat ever!

Dabbling Chef said...

I think your photo looks great! Your puddings are the perfect shape too. All the versions look really delicious. And all that whipped cream is making my mouth water!

TeaLady said...

Those look really good. Great job on these.

Aparna said...

Those puddings looks good. I made three too. :)
Chocolate is always a winner.

Natalie... said...

Oh wow I cant believe how good these both look :) they look amazing yummm, especially the chocolate one :).

Markus said...

Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Oh, and we got the pictures up now. Cheers!

Jacque said...

Oh my! You really rose to the occasion. Those all look fantastic!! I can't decide which I'd start with first.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, those look absolutely amazing. I wish i could take a spoon and break into that last one. It looks like its just screaming to be gobbled up... by me LOL
Have a wonderful weekend ahead.
*kisses* HH

tease-spoon of sugar said...

Your veal "pudding" (that just sounds wrong), is the first meat version I've seen that I actually want to eat. It looks so good! And both your sweet ones look fantastic too. So glad I stopped by...I see a few things on your blog I want to try. Starting with your buns stuffed with feta! Yum. Can't wait to try those!

natalia said...

Mary ! Your puddings are wonderful ! Now with my leftover suet. I want to try the ossobuco too !!!

natalia said...

Ciao Mary, thank you for your nice comment ! The sponge one was made with butter the recipe is at the end

Yummita said...

Hi, I didn't like the suet pastry, too, so you're not alone :) I was sorry to through it away so I ate it every day with jam - it was a little better then. I think the sponge type must be really good :)

Cheers
Yummita

Lisa said...

That osso bucco pudding is insane!! What a great idea and it looks so good..I would beg for it! All three look amazing..but I'll take the chocolate for dessert once I devour the WHOLE osso bucco pudding ;D BTW, gorgeous photos too!

Y said...

Wow, all your puddings look absolutely perfect. I wish I'd time to try more, like that Sussex Pond one!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Mary!
Happy 2013!
I have missed you and plan to change that,
Retirement is truly crazy the first year!
:)
Valerie