A steamed pudding rounds off a sunday roast better than most puddings I find. My girls both love a syrup sponge. Yesterday I thought I would fancy it up a bit. The addition of freshly ground cardamom adds a delicious scent and the crunch of lightly toasted almonds adds bite to the squidgy, teeth-achingly sweet syrupy sponge. I did make a mistake though. I didn’t make custard to go with it. Last time I made custard after sunday lunch I curdled the eggs trying to cook it too quickly. It’s easier to get a pot of cream out of the fridge. But this pudding deserves custard and I shouldn’t have shied away from it. I won’t next time.
This recipe is inspired by one in Hilaire Walden’s Glorious Puddings, and the title of this book says it all. I have made a few changes to make it my own.
50g flaked almonds
2 tbsp golden syrup
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
4 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and bashed to a powder
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
Place the flaked almonds in a dry pan and place over a medium heat until they are lightly toasted. Pour onto a plate and set aside until you are ready to serve the pudding.
Grease a 1½ pint capacity heatproof bowl with a little butter. Take a teaspoon of ground almonds and tip into the bowl and swirl around until it gives a light coating all over. Tip out any excess. Spoon the golden syrup into the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
Fill a large saucepan half-full with water and place a small plate or trivet at the bottom. Bring to the boil.
Beat the butter, sugar and ground cardamom together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between additions. Fold in the flour and the ground almonds until well combined. Spoon carefully into the bowl over the syrup. Level the top carefully. Cover with a pleated piece of greaseproof paper and tie with string. Place carefully into the pan of boiling water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. This needs to steam for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. I place the pan into the simmering oven of my Aga once it is boiling. I tend to leave it longer than 45 minutes. Yesterday it sat in the pan in the simmering oven for about two hours while I made and ate dinner with no harm coming to it.
Carefully remove the paper, remembering that steam will rush out, place a deep serving dish on top of the bowl and carefully turn it over. The pudding should just slip out, sometimes making a satisfying sucking noise as it does so. Sprinkle the almonds over the top and serve with custard.