This mixture will hold at room temperature for hours covered, so you can mix it ahead and steam the puddings just before the meal. The great thing about steaming is that you can leave them 10 minutes more and they'll be fine as long as the temperature stays around 100 degrees. Note: these puddings can be microwaved if you're in a hurry.
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g castor sugar
zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
2 medium eggs (60g each)
50ml lemon juice
2 tbsp poppy seeds
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
extra butter for the moulds
poached fruit, jam or marmalade for the top
1. Take six small metal dariole moulds and butter inside well.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, zest and ricotta until smooth then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the lemon juice, milk and poppy seeds, then beat in the flour and baking powder.
3. Place a good heaped tablespoon of jam or poached fruit into the base of each cup, then 3/4 fill with the pudding mixture.
4. Cover each mould with a foil lid and steam in a bamboo steamer or place the covered moulds on an ovenproof tray and bake in a 100C fan-forced oven for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer poked in comes out clean.
To microwave, spoon the mixture 3/4 full into well-buttered teacups, cover with cling film, and microwave for about one-two minutes. Leave to sit for a few minutes before serving.
5. To serve, invert puddings into bowls. Serve with thin pouring cream or a rich vanilla custard.