Treacle Pudding: Steamed Golden Syrup Sponge
Traditional British Pudding
It's my husband's birthday and I've promised to make him one of his favorite desserts: steamed treacle pudding. It's not made with dark treacle or molasses but with Lyle's Golden Syrup. Both my grandmothers would make this pudding, though my Grandma mostly used raspberry jam/jelly in hers. It's usually served with custard but ice-cream or heavy cream also works.
Treacle pudding is like angel food – if you've never tried it then you are in for a delicious experience. However, I only make it a couple of times a year as it is very fattening! Wonderful for family celebrations, steamed sponges are simple to make and, because they are made on the stove-top, leave your oven free for the main course.
I thought you might like to join me as I make his birthday treat.
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Ingredients: Serves Six
- 2 level tablespoons Golden Syrup
- 4oz (1/2 cup) (100g) butter
- 2oz (1/4 cup) (50g) granulated or caster sugar
- 2oz (1/4 cup) (50g) soft brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 6oz (3/4 cup) (150g) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 - 3 tablespoons milk
What You Need
- A double steamer. You can use an ordinary saucepan by placing an old saucer in the bottom, stand the pudding basin on it and fill it with water to come halfway up the basin.
- Pudding basin 1 1/2 pint (900 ml)
- Mixing bowl
- Large metal spoon – tablespoon is fine
- Waxed/greaseproof paper
- String or thick elastic
Method for Treacle Pudding - Quick Version
- Set steamer to boil. Grease pudding basin and spoon Golden Syrup in.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla essence to beaten eggs.
- Gradually add beaten egg and vanilla essence, mixing well with each addition.
- Sift half the flour and baking powder into bowl and fold in gently with metal spoon. Repeat with remaining flour and baking powder.
- Add enough milk to obtain a dropping consistency, then pour batter on top of syrup in pudding basin.
- Cover basin with waxed paper and foil. Place in steamer, cover and steam for 1 1/2 hours. Detailed instructions follow.
Step One: Prepare the Steamer & Pudding Basin
Fill the steamer base (or saucepan up to the required level) with water and set on the heat to boil. Grease the pudding basin with butter – I always save my butter wrappers in the fridge for this sort of thing. Spoon the Golden Syrup into the bottom of the basin.
Step Two: Butter, Sugar & Eggs
Using the fork, cream the butter and sugars together until the mix is nice and squidgy.
Drip half a teaspoon of vanilla essence or flavoring into the beaten eggs.
Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing thoroughly each time. The mixture will almost certainly 'split'. When I first made this as a newly wed, I thought I'd done something wrong and threw everything away and started again. When it happened a second time, I nearly gave up in tears, but decided to press on anyway. It was fine.
Step Three: Adding the Flour & Milk
Sieve half the flour and baking powder into the bowl and use a metal spoon to gently fold the flour into the butter and sugar. Repeat with the rest of the flour.
Now, you want the batter to be a 'dropping consistency', in other words, when you scoop up a tablespoonful, the mix should slowly fall off the spoon and fall back in the basin. Add a little milk and test for 'dropping'. You may need to repeat this until the right consistency is obtained.
Step Four: Steaming
Tip and scrape the batter into the pudding basin right on top of the syrup that's already in there. Shake and tap the side of the basin to get the mixture level.
Cover the basin with a double layer of waxed or greaseproof paper, secure around the basin with string or elastic, then cover the whole shebang with foil to keep the steam out of the pudding.
Take a length of foil – about twice as long as your steamer is wide – and fold it lengthways until it is about two inches wide. Place this inside the steamer with the two ends hanging over the side – this will make it easy to lift the hot basin out of the steamer. I keep my foil 'handles' and use them again and again, making sure to unfold and dry them out.
Place the basin in the steamer, cover with a lid and steam on a low heat for 1 1/2 hours. You can let it carry on steaming for another half hour with no ill-effects. Check the water level now and then as you don't want it to boil dry.
Step Five: Serving Treacle Pudding
Carefully remove the pudding from the steamer using your foil handles. Remove the foil and paper – be careful – it's very hot! Place a serving plate on top of the pudding basin and quickly up-end it. Tap the bottom of the basin and lift it off the plate. Your glorious Golden Syrup sponge pudding should be sitting there in all its glory.
At this point, I have to physically restrain my husband from adding another tablespoon of syrup over the top (you can if you want to). Cut the pudding into portions as you would a cake and serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.
This pudding is also delicious served cold as Golden Syrup cake.
Red Stars for a Golden Dessert?
What is Golden Syrup?
Golden syrup is a light treacle that if formed during the sugar refining process. In the old days, it was considered a waste product and was usually thrown away. A chemist who worked for sugar refiner, Abram Lyle, discovered the syrup could be further refined, and Lyle's Golden Syrup was born. The Guinness Book of Records shows that the famous trademark is Britain's oldest brand. It is high in both fructose and glucose and, therefore, should not be consumed in great quantities – it's okay for the occasional delicious treat though!
Variations on Golden Syrup
Plop in a couple of tablespoons of any of the following instead of Golden Syrup:
- Any flavor jam/jelly works well.
- Canned fruit such as pineapple or peaches.
- Stewed fruit – blackberry and apple or rhubarb and apple are wonderful.
- Mincemeat – press a thin layer of mincemeat all over the inside of the pudding basin before pouring in the mixture.
- Chocolate – 4 level tablespoons of cocoa powder blended with a little water and mixed in to the butter and sugar before adding the beaten eggs make a delicious chocolate pudding. Serve with chocolate sauce and cream. Yum!
- Keep the syrup but zing up the sponge with the zest of an orange or lemon added when creaming the butter and sugar.
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