The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
Total Cooking Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I’m starting with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
We’re finally back in it and this time, it’s pudding week! This was a major disconnect for me because the classic pudding desserts from Britain are very different than the American idea of puddings. The signature challenge was a steam school pudding which meant absolutely nothing to me. Not only is this an older tradition in Britain, it’s also not a thing in the U.S.! I leaned heavily on the show for any ideas for this one.
Since I was already out of my comfort zone, I decided to try out a pudding inspired by a British classic: a Bakewell tart steamed school pudding. This was inspired by the recipe done by Stacy from the show. For this one, I also made a cherry jam and a vanilla custard. For the cherry jam, you can either make it homemade or buy it from the store. The vanilla custard is optional.
The ingredients for a Bakewell Tart Steamed School Pudding are very similar to the ones needed to make a cake. I find it really interesting that a lot of British recipes will often use self-raising flour instead of having the flour and a separate raising agent. The recipe also uses almond flour and almond extract to have a nuttiness running through the sponge.
Prepping the Tin
From the show, it looks like this recipe has a special tin. I do not have said tin, so I had to make due with that I had around the house. I decided to use a circular cake pan because it seemed like a good alternative. The first step of prepping the tin is greasing it with butter (to allow for easy release later… hopefully). Then, I placed some of the cherry jam on the bottom. When all is said and done, this will be the top of the sponge. I also grease some parchment paper and aluminum foil to act as a lid for the container.
Making the Batter
The batter is made by slowly adding each of the ingredients. I wanted to make sure everything is well combined. This eliminates the random pockets of flour or other ingredients. I started by creaming together the butter and brown sugar. I did my best to get this light and fluffy. I’ve been tending to mix everything a little longer than I normally would because I still think that I’ve been removing it from the mixer too early.
Since the eggs are beaten before they are added to the mixture, I added a little at a time to get a more incorporated effect. The extract is then added once the eggs have been fully incorporated. The next step I had to do by handed. The flour is folded into the mixture. Folding will allow the batter to retain more of the air that was previously whipped in. I like doing this for especially light cakes or when there is a lack of raising agent. The air really needs to put in a bit of work. The milk was used to offset the flour to get the right consistency for the batter. Just like the flour, the almond flour should also be folded into the batter.
Baking… Er… Steaming
So, this is one of the weirdest baking methods I have ever come across. The batter is poured into the tin, covered, and then put into a pot of boiling hot water. It’s effectively cooked by steam for a couple of hours. I had to be careful putting the tin into the pot because it’s easy to splash the boiling water. All that’s left to do is wait. If you want to serve the pudding with vanilla custard, now is a great time to make it. Although, you might want to wait until closer to the end of the two hours. I also used this time to toast some almonds for decorations!
Decorate and Serve
Once everything is cooked, it’s time to release the sponge. I separated it from the side of the tin and let it sit for a few minutes before turning it out. I flipped it out onto a plate. And then I covered the pudding in decorations! And, of course, I couldn’t forget to drizzle some vanilla custard on the side when I decided to eat it.
This was a very interesting recipe as it was different than anything I had ever previously made. The steam pudding coming out so beautifully surprised me. The sponge was fluffy and moist and all of the decorations and addition made the flavor really stand out. I have noticed I tend to dislike almond extract but I still couldn’t help myself. The pudding was delicious.
Am I ready for bake-off? This is one of the few recipes that I felt great about at the end. It tasted good and it looked good. Maybe taking the break was what I need to get back into this challenging headspace.
Cooking in Boiling Water
Cooking with steam is not uncommon when it comes to baking in the oven. While I haven’t seen it used on the stove as much, there are a lot of benefit from using this cooking method. The largest benefit is temperature control. Water boils at 212 °F which means the steam would be around this consistent temperature. This helps control the surrounding area for cooking and makes everything bake evenly as there is a consistency that comes with this method.
Bakewell Steamed School Pudding
- 10 Tbsp Butter softened
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs beaten
- ½ Tsp Almond Extract
- 1 Cup Self-Raising Flour
- 2 Tbsp Whole Milke
- ¼ Cup Almond Flour
- Raspberries to decorate
- Toasted Chopped Almonds to decorate
- Place 3 tbsp of cold cherry jam in the bottom as a greased pudding tin.
- Cream together butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy
- Add in the eggs in small amounts, beat well after each addition
- Add in almond extract. Mix well
- Fold in (Half) the flour until combined.
- Add in a tablespoon of milk and then fold in the remaining flower. Add more milk, a small amount at a time, until the sponge mixture is smooth but drops thickly from a spoon when tapped
- Fold in almond flour.
- Gently spoon the batter into the pudding basin and spread easily.
- Cover the tin with an oiled baking paper and then with a layer of foil.
- Set the basin on the upturned saucer in the pan and add more boiling water, about one third up the side of the basin
- Cover the pan and let simmer for 2 hours.
- Carefully remove the basin from the pan and then loosen the sponge. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before turning the sponge out onto a plate.
- Decorate with raspberries and almonds.
- Serve with custard! Enjoy!!