A Magic Pudding


A few years back you wouldn’t dared have mentioned puddings in conversation, let alone serve or eat them, but they are back in fashion.
– PETER MEIER indulges in winters ultimate companion – hot, sweet, sticky desserts

Of all the different groups of dishes that fit snuggly into a seasonal niche, puddings must surely be a natural. I am talking about decadent, sweet, hot, rich, old-fashioned desserts that include steamed and baked puddings, custards, brulees, pies and crumbles.

Many of them had rather humble origins somewhere in the British Isles or some other northern European country, going back to the 18th century or earlier.

Puddings use ingredients readily available throughout the cold European winter; a base of flour, eggs and milk; sweeteners such as sugar, honey, treacle and molasses; preserved fruit, marmalade and jams, chocolate and a variety of liqueurs, syrups, spices and essences.

A few years back, you wouldn’t have dared to mention puddings in conversation, let alone serve or eat them, but they are back in fashion and you find them on the menus of our most fashionable restaurants.

Steamed vanilla pudding with butterscotch sauce and pecans

Makes 8


  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 80ml milk
  • 1 tsp quality vanilla essence
  • 250g self-raising flour


  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 125ml cream
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 cup shelled pecans, chopped


To make pudding, cream butter and sugar in a bowl until mixture is white and fluffy. Stir in eggs one at a time, then milk and vanilla. Gently fold in flour. Spoon batter into individual greased pudding moulds (185ml or ¾ cup). Cover with a greaseproof paper and steam in steamer, or in a covered saucepan with enough water ti reach 1cm up side of moulds, for about 45 minutes.

To make sauce, combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until water evaporates and sugar caramelises. Quickly add cream and whisk in butter. Stir in pecans and rind.

To serve, remove puddings from moulds and stand on warmed plates. Top with the sauce and nuts. For extra decadence, serve with cream.