Think treacle sponge meets ginger cake with soft juicy pears.
This pudding is sticky & soft & sweet & is now a firm favourite in our house. It came about because Trevor likes anything with ginger, I like treacle sponge & we had a bumper crop of pears this year.
Cooking with pears is a new thing for me. We have always had pear trees in the garden & generally we eat them all before they are really ready to eat. Unripe pears were the cause of many of our childhood tummy aches.
We like them when they are rock hard and leave you with sore gums. This winter though I have developed a love of sweet, juicy, soft, ripe pears. First I poached a lot of them in spices and port. Divine. Then came this pudding.
I have never been anywhere that has puddings to beat English ones. Treacle pud, chocolate pud, jam roly poly & spotted dick are amazing. Puddings are probably my favourite food group. Hence, I have had a great time perfecting this recipe. In recent years English food has changed a lot & I think mainly for the better. However, let’s not mess around too much with puddings. They are so warming & comforting & so ridiculously sweet.
Since deciding to cut down on my gluten intake I have made quite a few cakes, sponges & puddings with different flour mixes. I really think they are just as good if not better than ones using wheat flour.
The gluten in wheat can cause cakes to be a bit tough, that’s why the recipes always instruct you not to over beat a cake mix. Without it cakes have a lovely soft crumb. I have used ground almonds, oats and a gluten free flour mixture for this pudding, but it works fine with just the gluten free flour or regular flour. I like the chew that oat flour gives to cake and usually add a small amount but it’s not essential.
I know that traditionally suet is used for steamed puddings but I don’t use it in this recipe. I tried it and the pudding was really rich. For me it was a bit too rich as I add a lot of syrup. I decided it did not need both the fat & the sugar so chose the sugar. I don’t see the point of adding suet if it doesn’t need it as it is not exactly good for the arteries.
Steaming puddings gives them a really wonderful light, moist texture. I made this for Becky & she said the sponge was mousse-like. It is a bit more work than baking it in the oven (unless you have a steam oven) but I think it is worth it. However, this recipe works fine in the oven. Bake it at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Steamed Pudding with Ginger Syrup – Gluten Free
You will need:
1 litre pudding bowl & a large saucepan with a lid
2 ripe pears
100g brown sugar
2 tbsp Treacle or Molasses
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 chopped dates
1 piece reserved ginger (chopped)
30g gluten free oat flour (just blend up some oats)
30g ground almonds
60g gluten free flour
2 tbsp Golden Syrup or honey
2 tbsp ginger syrup (from the preserved ginger)
How to make the pudding:
1. To make the cake batter: beat the sugar & butter until fluffy then add the eggs and treacle and beat until well mixed. Add the baking powder, ground ginger, dates, salt, pepper, preserved ginger and finally the flour. Mix well.
2. Grease the pudding bowl really well.
3. Peel the pears and cut them in half. Scoop out the seeds and place the pears in the bottom of the bowl.
4. You can either add the golden syrup & ginger syrup now or pour it over the pudding after it is cooked. Adding it now means that the pudding will soak up a lot of the syrup and it will be a wetter sponge at the end. I like it either way.
5. Finally pour the batter over the pears and make sure there are no gaps at the bottom of the bowl. There should be at least an inch between the mixture and the top of the bowl.
6. When steaming a pudding it is essential to make sure that the moisture cannot get into the pudding. I use 2 layers of tin foil over the bowl secured with some string.
7. Put enough water into the saucepan so that it is about 8-10cm deep. I stand the bowl on a jar lid so that it is not touching the bottom of the saucepan. Place the lid on the saucepan & bring the water to the boil. It needs to stay at this temperature for at least 1.5 hours. Check that the water is not evaporating away and if you need to add boiling water to top it up.
8. After 1.5 hours turn off the heat but do not remove the lid of the pan for about 30 minutes.
9. After the resting period you should take the pudding out & turn it out onto a plate. Serve it hot with custard.