Recipe of the week

There is a tale that tells of the secret treacle mines of England. Everyone knows about them but no one knows exactly where they are. There are old folk who remember talking to a treacle miner back in the day, or so they tell their grandchildren...

Treacle pudding is actually made with golden syrup, which was first sold by Abram Lyle in 1885. It has a lighter flavour than black treacle and is not as viscous. Both products are a by-product of the sugar refining process but have a completely different taste.

Many British people immediately think of their schooldays when a steamed treacle pudding is presented to them. It was one of those classic school-dinner puds, like spotted dick.

Makes one large pudding in a 16cm (about 1 litre) basin

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 60g shredded suet
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 40g golden syrup. plus 3 tbsp for the basin
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Prepare the pudding basin for steaming, as explained in the box on the opposite page.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, suet and sugar in a large bowl, then add the golden syrup, salt and allspice followed by the egg and the buttermilk. Mix well.

3. Pour the extra three tablespoons of golden syrup into the prepared basin. Pour the batter into the basin and prepare for steaming, as explained opposite. Steam for 1½ hours, checking after an hour by inserting a toothpick into the pudding to see if it comes out clean.

4. When it is cooked, remove the basin from the oven, take off the foil and paper and loosen the side of the pudding with a knife, then turn the pudding out. Be careful, as hot water could have seeped under the foil and could run out.

5. Serve with custard or ice cream. If you are not eating it immediately it can be frozen in its basin and reheated in the microwave after defrosting.

Pride and Pudding: The History of British Puddings, Savoury and Sweet by Regula Ysewijn is published by Murdoch Books, price £30

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