Cooking Notes: NFSA Pudding Recipe

After watching this 1930s cartoon pudding recipe from the National Film and Sound Archives (NFSA) some time ago, I had cause to buy some Australian raisins and sultanas recently and though I would give it a go. The kitchen of our 1926 federation house no doubt witnessed several steamed puddings, but my first ever attempt was probably the worst one made here! Fortunately, the house is a little less sexist than this film. The following recipe is also available here.

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 110g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp peach jam
  • ¼ cup sultanas
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and milk and stir well. Add flour, baking soda, salt, jam, sultanas and raisins and stir to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into a well-greased tin and cover with greaseproof paper.
  • Place the covered tin into a saucepan of boiling water with a lid and steam for one-and-a-half hours.
My take:

There were a few issues:
  1. I used a Pyrex bowl instead of a tin. I had trouble putting the bowl into the saucepan because it is hard to put your hands down the inside of a pot of boiling water.
  2. I over-filled the pot of water and the Pyrex bowl was too shallow. The top of the pudding was soggy, but I saved this by simply cutting it off. Because the bowl was too shallow, the top overflowed the bowl.
  3. The greaseproof paper was saturated and did not do its job well. I read on another recipe that one should put pleats in the paper to allow the pudding to rise, and place a cloth over the paper so that it stays in place.
  4. Next time, I will use a stainless steel bowl we have that might just be a pudding dish. It is deep and narrow (in the shape of a traditional pudding) and has a large lip around the top that will make it easy to insert and remove from the pot. Apparently these dishes are difficult to find so that is is a bonus that we have one.
Otherwise, we served this with a brandy custard made with fresh eggs from our backyard chickens. I liked it. Rather than "surreal", I found the experience all rather nostalgic. But I will try this recipe again allowing for the lessons learnt this first time.