Alright, we’re in the home stretch now. The Holidays are at our doorstep, and not a person is stress-free, not even this elf. That’s why I thought I’d debut this charming Clementine Steamed Pudding now. The reality of just how many things you still have left to do has no doubt set in. So, while I’m sure you still want to present an “Ooh ah!” dessert on the 25th, your ambition to create a monstrosity like this or this has likely abated. Well, have no fear because this pudding is a simple one-bowl affair with a fair amount of downtime and a ton of Christmas charm.
Now, the most famous, or perhaps infamous, steamed pudding is, of course, plum pudding. This treat is traditionally served on Christmas throughout the UK and is also referred to as, appropriately enough, Christmas Pudding. Christmas Pudding isn’t much loved outside of the British isles and it’s not difficult to see why. It tends to be quite rich, boozy and laced with raisins. In fact, the raisins are what give plum pudding its moniker. There are no plums in the pudding, but up until the Victorian era, the word plum was used as a term for raisin. This host of ingredients adds up to a dessert that could be seen as quite “challenging” to the North American palette. We all know how contentious the other British classic fruit cake can be.
But the fact of the matter is, plum pudding is just one of many steamed pudding varieties. Pretty much anything you can put in a cake you can put in a steamed pudding. So, I thought, rather than serve up a traditional Christmas Pudding that you may or may not be interested in, I would keep the cozy format of the traditional steamed pudding and flavor it with something a little more universally loved – the clementine.
If you grew up in a household like mine, you knew Christmas was imminent when a flat of clementines showed up on the kitchen counter. These perfectly hand-held citrus fruits are synonymous with Christmas in my mind and I know I’m not alone. People used to put them in the toe of children’s stockings as a stand-in for the orbs of gold St. Nick supposedly placed in the stockings of a group of unwed daughters, so their father could afford to pay their dowry.
Creepy patriarchial practices aside, I found this myth to be utterly fascinating. Within this small story are the origins of several Christmas traditions. St. Nick threw the gold orbs down the chimney and they landed in the ladies’ stockings, which were drying by the fire. You’ve got the explanation for the chimney, the stockings hung with care and the orange in the toe in one dang story. Kinda nifty, no? Anyway, clementines for all the reasons stated above seemed like as good a Christmas flavor as any for my plum-free steamed pudding.
How To Make Clementine Steamed Pudding?
Now, I will admit that before I started developing this recipe, I was not well-versed in the world of steamed cakes. But once I started educating myself, I was delighted to find they were a snap to make. Honestly, if you know your way around a quick-bread, you are more than prepared to take this on. But there are a few things that will feel a touch unfamiliar at first.
First things first, we’re going to boil a couple of clementines. Yes, that’s right, we’re going to boil whole clementines. The idea behind this is to draw all the bitterness from the fruit while deepening the sweetness of the flesh and retaining the floral qualities of the peel. Once the clementines are boiled, you simply puree the fruits, peel and all, and add it to the batter. Oh, and your house will smell like a million bucks. So yeah, you get to make a cake and cultivate a cozy atmosphere at the same time. Not a bad deal, eh?
To make the batter, you pretty much make a basic one-bowl cake. There is a bit more egg and no leaveners, but the rest should seem very familiar. Creaming sugar into butter and whatnot.
Now, for the least familiar aspect – the steaming. The first thing you have to do is put the kettle on. You’re going to need a lot of boiling water for this. Then it’s time to fashion a lid for your pudding basin. This video from the BBC helped me out a ton and my lid worked like a dream. Then place a ramekin in the center of a large pot. This will elevate your pudding basin, so the pudding will steam evenly. Lower your basin onto its pedestal and make sure you can still put the lid on the pot. Then fill the pot with boiling water until half of the pudding basin is immersed. Turn the heat to low, return the top to the pot and leave the pudding to steam for 2 hours.
Congratulations, you’ve just steamed your first pudding and your kitchen smells like magic. Yes, steamed puddings do take a long time to make but none of it is labor-intensive and that’s why I think this Clementine Steamed Pudding is the perfect dessert for the frazzled holiday host. It pretty much takes care of itself and it looks pretty impressive once you pop it out of its basin.
So, that’s everything you need to know about this Clementine Steamed Pudding with Marmalade Glaze. It’s the festive treat that tastes fancy but requires little more than stirring.
Clementine Steamed Pudding with Marmalade Glaze
- Pudding Basin
- 3 clementines divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-10 green cardamom pods
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 tbsp marmalade
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Place two of the clementines, the bay leaves, cardamom, star anise, and the cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low. Boil the clementines, partially covered, for 2 hours topping up with additional water if it boils dry. Take the clementines out of the water and set aside to cool.
- Grease the pudding basin with additional butter. Line the base with parchment paper. Place 3 tablespoons of the marmalade in a small bowl and microwave in 30-second burst until liquid. Pour the marmalade into the pudding basin.
- Take the remaining clementine and cut two thin slices from it. Cut one of the slices in half. Arrange the slices in an even layer along the base of the basin. Set aside.
- Remove the center piths and any seeds from the cooled clementines. Place them in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, cream the sugar into the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the clementine puree.
- In a separate bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift ⅓ of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Fold to combine. Repeat with the remaining 2 thirds of the flour mixture until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pudding basin and smooth the top.
- Place a ruler-length piece of tin foil on the counter. Place a piece of parchment paper of equal size on top. Grease the parchment paper with butter. Create a crease in the center to allow the pudding to expand. Place the parchment and tin foil on top of the pudding basin, ensuring the crease runs across the center of the basin. Secure the paper and foil with butcher's twine, using the excess to fashion a handle for retrieving the pudding. Trim any excess foil and paper. **
- Put a full kettle of water on to boil. Place a ramekin in the center of a large pot and lower the basin on top. Fill the pot with boiling water until half of the basin is immersed. Put the lid on the pot and set over low heat. Steam the pudding for 2 hours or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
- Run a butter knife around the edge of the pudding and invert the basin to remove the pudding. Place the remaining marmalade in the microwave and heat in 30-second bursts until liquid. Pour the marmalade on top of the pudding. Decorate with orange or clementine zest and serve immediately with ice cream or whipped cream.