I have a carbon steel pudding steamer/basin with lid. Can I steam and leave my pudding in this until Christmas or does it have to be plastic?
Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is steamed in a plastic pudding bowl. This is mainly for convenience, as the lid snaps on top of the bowl and reduces the need for lots of wrapping. The bowls are also fairly easy to find in the UK and are low cost.
The main problem with metal bowls is that they can sometimes react with the fruits in the pudding, giving a metallic flavour. This is particularly an issue for aluminium bowls and basins (and aluminium foil). It appears to be less of an issue for carbon steel, particularly if the basin has a non-stick lining and if the pudding is not left in the basin for too long (ie a few days rather than a few weeks). Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding can be made up to 6 weeks in advance but is equally good if given its first steaming only a few days before Christmas. However, if you are making the pudding well in advance we would prefer to use a plastic or stoneware basin.