Vanilla steamed pudding

Vanilla puddings show off your best berry preserves.
Vanilla puddings show off your best berry preserves. Photo: William Meppem

There's a reassuring comfort to a wedge of soft cake-like steamed pudding. Cooked in a bowl sat in a pot of simmering water, the temperature stays below boiling and lets the crumb set gently, giving it a delicate texture. This is the perfect base to tweak with any extras you fancy, such as dried fruits, chopped crystallised ginger or a few tablespoons of coconut.


180g unsalted butter, softened

180g castor sugar

3 x 60g eggs

15ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

200g good jam, or golden syrup

whipped cream to serve


1. Butter the inside of a one-litre (size 30) traditional pudding bowl, place a small disc of non-stick paper in the base, then dust the inside with flour to make it non-stick. Have a deep 25cm lidded saucepan ready and check your bowl will sit inside it with some room around the base and sides.

2. Cover the base of the pudding bowl with a good layer of jam or syrup – don't be stingy.

3. Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, stir well until evenly combined, then spoon this on top of the jam in the pudding bowl. Traditionally you would cover the bowl with foil and tie this on firmly with string, creating a loop over the top to help lift the bowl out of the saucepan easily. But I do what my mum does today, and just sit the open bowl in the saucepan and stick the saucepan lid on – less fuss.

5. Pour boiling water into the saucepan around the edge of the pudding bowl so it comes up to about halfway. Stick the lid on the saucepan and bring to a simmer, then cook for 90 to 120 minutes, or until the pudding is cooked right through. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.

6. Carefully remove the pot from the saucepan, upturn it onto a plate and serve with whipped cream.

If you like this recipe try Dan's chocolate pecan steamed pudding with caramel butter sauce.