Thursday, March 24, 2011

A British recipe from an Australia magazine with an Irish Custard for Maine Maple Sunday!

 And there we were thinking Spring really had arrived and all the snow would go away and the birds would be singing and the sun shining...silly us!!
Next thing you know the snow is falling with a vengeance and my little (and yes they are little) pails are full of snow along with sap. This year so far has been very good and the sap has been flowing apace...I already have one quart 'sugared down' and I used this for a recipe to celebrate this coming Maine Maple Sunday March 27th
The recipe is for Maple Steamed Pudding from Australian Vogue Food magazine many a moon ago but I have always been intrigued by the sounds of it...I have doctored it a little by adding breadcrumbs which give the steamed pudding a springy/bouncy texture and I added in grated carrot for a bit more came out well I am glad to say.

5oz / 5/8 cup white flour
2oz / 1/2 cup fine white breadcrumbs (I choose a slightly moist loaf and left the crust on...pulsed it in a coffee grinder to get nice crumbs)
1 good teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg or more if you like nutmeg the way I do
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 cup / 3 fl ozs cup milk
3oz / 3/8 cup sugar (brown or white depends which you prefer)
2 large eggs whisked together
2oz /1 medium sized carrot finely grated ...I use a microplane to get it really fine
2oz of either butter (4 tablespoons) or suet (1/2 cup)...I use suet because I had it available and it makes the pudding less greasy
1/4 cup / 4 fl ozs maple syrup
Good pinch of salt

1. Cream the butter or suet and sugar together...this doesn't work so well with the suet but make a brave effort as I will probably still have a few lumps but that's OK.
2. Slowly beat in the eggs in about 4 goes.
3. Sift the dry ingredients together.
4. Dissolve the baking powder in the milk.
5. Add the dry ingredients and the milk in alternating batches until it is all well combined....blend in the pureed carrots...and you will end up with a not very appetizing batter like that below.
6. For this amount I used a larger bowl than normal as I have found these puddings do expand quite a lot...I used a 4 cup/6 1/2" diameter bowl. So grease the bowl well with butter...
7. Pour the maple syrup in the bottom and then gingerly add the batter to the bowl so the batter is basically in a puddle of syrup as below:

Then we cut a round of greaseproof paper to cover the bowl generously....cover the bowl, fold paper over down the sides and secure with an elastic band, or for purists with some nice string.

Now cut a circle of aluminium foil and do the same until you end up with what you see below
Now pop your little pudding into the top of the boiler...put the lid back on and get the kettle on for a cuppa while you wait for your pudding to be cooked. I steamed this one for 2 hours on our humming wood burning stove...just to add to the Maine mystique.
And thus you end up with a little hat shaped pudding that is sticky on the top and probably quite rounded on the can level that off for presentation purposes so it sits level on the plate...don't be surprised if there's some pudding left in the bowl when you turn it out and do wait to turn it our for about 10 minutes which will make that process a little may have to tease the pudding away from the bowl a little in order to encourage it to drop out willingly when you cover the bowl with a plate and tip it upside down...good luck with that!
My poor little pudding is naked here but was soon dressed with lashings of straight maple syrup and a goodly puddle of Creme Anglaise or English Custard from an Irish book...I have added the recipe for that herewith:
from "Irish Traditional Food" by Theodora FitzGibbon, a goodly trusty cookbook
1 heaped tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 duck egg and 1 duck egg yolk whisked together, large regular eggs work just as well
10 fl oz/ 1 1/4 cups whole milk

1. Beat together the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and sugar in a bowl.
2. Have another double boiler on the go.
3. Heat the milk to almost boiling in the top part of the double boiler but on the stove top to make it go faster.
4. Stir a little of the hot milk into the egg mix and then a bit more to temper the temperature.
5. Then put the top part of the double boiler back over the bottom and the boiling water and whisk the egg and milk mix into the rest of the milk
6. Do not leave the custard alone now until it is finished or it will curdle whilst you are not looking and you will have to start again. SO stir and stir and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon as in the picture take the spoon out of the custard, turn the spoon over, run your finger through the custard and if the line doesn't fill back in it is ready, don't let it cook too long or get too hot as the eggs will start to turn into scrambled eggs and the sauce will be grainy.....take off the heat immediately and continue to stir.

Please check out my friends', Alico and Castelle, blog, pastry chefs in Toronto, for more delicious maple recipes Chronic Master Baker (naughty things!!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy Saint Patrick's Day - Lá Fhéile Pádraig (Gaelic with the name pronounced of my brother's has the name) one and all...above is a logo I designed a couple of years ago which celebrates the deep friendship between Eire and The United States of America. I circled the flagpoles with a Claddagh ring in honour of my parents who were born in Galway. The Claddagh ring is the adopted symbol of that town and is given as a token of love.