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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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  • steaming christmas puddings

    I just steamed a batch of xmas puds. I used plastic pudding basins with snap on lids, and a circle of grease proof paper under the lid. I didn't wrap them as Nigella suggests, I didn't think of it, and I only steamed them for five hours (I wanted to get a second batch on). Now I am worried they will be dried and/or undercooked. Does wrapping make a big difference? and is eight hours steaming really any better than five?

    From the nigella team:

    The wrapping of the puddings is mainly a "safety feature" if using the plastic basins with lids - to make sure that no water or steam gets into the pudding during the steaming process. Nigella had a plastic lid pop off once during steaming and a waterlogged pudding is certainly not what you would want to serve up on Christmas day. We would suggest that wrapping the puddings is particularly important if the pudding is partially immersed in the pan of water (ie not in the steamer basket but in the saucepan below) as there is more risk of water seeping in under the lid or pushing the lid off.

    The eight hours steaming is necessary to fully cook the pudding ingredients but in the recipe it is done as 5 hours before and then a further 3 hours on Christmas day, to complete the cooking and heat up the pudding. You will also notice that the pudding darkens considerably in the second steaming. You should complete the full steaming time though you can split it slightly differently, we have also steamed the puddings for 6 hours before and 2 hours on Christmas day which also works well.


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