If Christmas pudding is too rich or stodgy for your taste, we have a delicious alternative for you to try – St Stephen’s pudding.
It’s also a whole lot quicker to prepare than Christmas pudding. There’s no soaking of fruit in alcohol overnight or resting it before steaming. And besides, Stir up Sunday was last week and I’ve missed it!
As the name suggests, St Stephen’s pudding is eaten on the “Feast of Stephen” – Boxing Day. Apparently, it was eaten at St John’s College, Cambridge on this day. I’ve only managed to find mention of this pudding on Delia’s website and the Cooking with the Saints cookbook. There’s also fleeting mention of the dish in The Ordinary, a 17th century play by William Cartwright where the character, Slicer utters, “Let the Corporal Come sweating under a breast of mutton stuff’d With pudding”.
I combined all the ingredients, pressed the mixture into a pudding bowl and secured the lid before putting it in the fridge to cook the following day. There’s no reason why it couldn’t stay in the fridge for up to a week before whipping it out for its 2-hour steam.
When I prepared it, I followed Delia’s recipe to the letter. However, if I was going to make this again (and I probably will) I’d add an extra 25 grams of sugar and only include the zest of half a lemon.
- 110g/4oz white breadcrumbs
- 50g/2oz self-raising flour, sifted
- 50g/2oz light brown soft sugar
- 75g/3oz shredded suet
- pinch of salt
- 110g/4oz seedless raisins
- 2 medium Bramley cooking apples, peeled & grated
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3tbsp milk
- 1 large egg
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, suet and salt
- Add the raisins, grated apples and grated lemon zest
- Stir thoroughly to combine well
- Beat the egg into the milk and stir into the mixture
- Pack the mixture into a well-greased pudding basin
- Cover the basin tightly with a sheet of baking parchment, then with a sheet of foil, make a pleat in the centre and secure with string
- Boil a kettle and pour the boiling water into a saucepan, about half full, place it on a medium heat and, when it comes back to the boil, fit a steamer over the top
- Steam the pudding for 2 hours, checking every so often that the water in the saucepan hasn't all evaporated away
- Remove the sheets of foil & baking parchment. Place an upturned plate on the top, quickly flip over and carefully lift off the pudding bowl
- Serve with custard or rum butter