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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Alternative Way to Cook Steamed Sponge

    I know the clue is in the title, but is there another way to cook the Steamed Syrup Sponge from How To Be a Domestic Goddess? Or if they were to be made as smaller individual puddings would this cut the steam time down? Trying to avoid the damp environment from the 2 hours steaming.

    From the nigella team:

    Steamed sponge puddings, such as Nigella's Steamed Syrup Sponge (from Domestic Goddess) are usually cooked in a steamer, or in a pan of water, as it will cook without much extra attention and won't tie up oven space. Unnfortunately we have not tried an alternative cooking method but we understand that sponge puddings can be cooked in a bain marie (water bath) in the oven.

    If you are using an oven method then you should not use a plastic basin, but a metal or Pyrex bowl. Once the batter is in the bowl you should cover the surface with a circle of baking parchmant (parchment paper) and wrap the bowl tightly in a double layer of foil. Put the bowl in a deep roasting tin and add hot water (from a freshly boiled kettle) to come halfway up the side of the bowl. Carefully put the bowl and bain marie in an oven preheated to 180c/350F. We would guess that the pudding should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook and you should check the bain marie occasionally and top it up with extra water as needed. 

    You could steam the pudding in individual pudding moulds and if they are metal moulds then you will need to put a circle of baking parchment on top of each and wrap each one in a double layer of clingflim (plastic wrap) and a layer of foil. The steaming time should be around 45 to 50 minutes. You will probably need about 10 of the standard size UK individual pudding moulds.

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