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Steamed Syrup Sponge

by . Featured in HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
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Introduction

I know a steamed pudding sounds stodgy, but I cannot tell you how glorious this is: light beyond words, feathery textured and comfortingly, not cloyingly, sweet. This is predicated on two things. You have to eat it up entirely while it’s warm (no hardship), as it will get heavy on cooling. And it needs to be balanced with custard or cream. There is also a good argument for vanilla ice cream.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I know a steamed pudding sounds stodgy, but I cannot tell you how glorious this is: light beyond words, feathery textured and comfortingly, not cloyingly, sweet. This is predicated on two things. You have to eat it up entirely while it’s warm (no hardship), as it will get heavy on cooling. And it needs to be balanced with custard or cream. There is also a good argument for vanilla ice cream.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Steamed Syrup Sponge
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

Metric Cups

For the sponge

  • 175 grams very soft unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
  • 175 grams self-raising flour
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons milk

For the syrup base/topping

  • 250 grams golden syrup
  • juice of other ½ lemon

For the sponge

  • 1½ sticks very soft unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½
  • 3 tablespoons milk

For the syrup base/topping

  • ¾ cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
  • juice of other ½ lemon

Method

You will need a 1¾ litre / quart pudding basin with lid, such as you might use to steam a Christmas pudding.

  1. Put the kettle on, then put the butter, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon and milk in the food processor and whizz together, adding a little more milk if the mix is too thick (it should be a thick, pouring consistency).
  2. Pour the boiling water into a large saucepan which has a lid (the water should come about half to two-thirds of the way up the side of the pudding basin when in) or into the base of a steamer. Put it on the heat. Meanwhile, butter the pudding basin, put the golden syrup in the bottom of it and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the sponge mixture on top of the syrup and put on the plastic lid, remembering to butter it first. Then put the pudding basin into the saucepan, put the lid on the saucepan, and that’s it. The pan should keep just boiling, with the lid on. The important thing is that it shouldn’t boil dry. Keep some water hot in the kettle to pour in when necessary. I know one is supposed to put the basin on a saucer in the pan, but the rattling noise it makes drives me mad, and the pudding doesn’t seem to suffer for being untriveted.
  3. Let it cook for a minimum of 2 hours, more won’t matter. When it’s ready, remove (I don’t bother to make a handle out of string, but use two spatulas to lift it out of the boiling water) and let rest for a couple of minutes, no longer. Turn out with great aplomb onto a large plate with a sauce-saving lip.

You will need a 1¾ litre / quart pudding basin with lid, such as you might use to steam a Christmas pudding.

  1. Put the kettle on, then put the butter, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon and milk in the food processor and whizz together, adding a little more milk if the mix is too thick (it should be a thick, pouring consistency).
  2. Pour the boiling water into a large saucepan which has a lid (the water should come about half to two-thirds of the way up the side of the pudding basin when in) or into the base of a steamer. Put it on the heat. Meanwhile, butter the pudding basin, put the golden syrup or light corn syrup in the bottom of it and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the sponge mixture on top of the syrup and put on the plastic lid, remembering to butter it first. Then put the pudding basin into the saucepan, put the lid on the saucepan, and that’s it. The pan should keep just boiling, with the lid on. The important thing is that it shouldn’t boil dry. Keep some water hot in the kettle to pour in when necessary. I know one is supposed to put the basin on a saucer in the pan, but the rattling noise it makes drives me mad, and the pudding doesn’t seem to suffer for being untriveted.
  3. Let it cook for a minimum of 2 hours, more won’t matter. When it’s ready, remove (I don’t bother to make a handle out of string, but use two spatulas to lift it out of the boiling water) and let rest for a couple of minutes, no longer. Turn out with great aplomb onto a large plate with a sauce-saving lip.

Tell us what you think

What 2 Others have said

  • This is almost heavenly. A winner a very time. Your guests will love you...

    Posted by manonlescaut on 28th December 2020
  • Stand the upturned saucer on top of a folded clean tea towel / clean dishcloth in the water. No rattling and super hygienic cloths too!

    Posted by Hiddz on 4th November 2020
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