History Cookbook: Steamed Chocolate Pudding
Using a steamer is a relatively advanced skill. Use oven gloves when handling the bowl inside the steamer.
Take care to avoid escaping steam when opening the steamer.
Do not allow the water in the bottom of the steamer to boil dry or you will spoil the pan.
For pictures of the cooking process see our Steamed Chocolate Pudding Picture Gallery.
With thanks to Sarah Gilkes (Warp and Weft) and Pam McMillan (Time Travelers) for their help with this podcast.
View a modern version of this recipe
In 1941, jam, marmalade, treacle and syrup were rationed. Sweets and chocolate were rationed to 350g/12oz per person per month, if available. This, combined with the rationing of butter, margarine and lard, made cooking any kind of pudding challenging. This recipe makes clever use of carrots to provide the sweetness in the pudding and to keep it moist during cooking. Powdered cocoa gives this pudding its chocolate flavouring.
The pudding is cooked in a steamer on a gas cooker. The pans are enamelled and quite thin. They are stored on a shallow shelf running around the kitchen. Posters suggesting ways to 'Make do and Mend' were created to encourage children to take part in the war effort.
- 2oz margarine
- 1oz sugar
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 heaped tsp cocoa
- pinch of salt
- ½ pint of milk
- a little vanilla essence
- Weighing scales
- Measuring jug
- Chopping board
- Wooden spoon
- Greaseproof paper
- Peel, top and tail the carrot, then grate it
- Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy
- Stir in the grated carrot, syrup and the rest of the dry ingredients
- Add the milk and a few drops of vanilla essence to mix to a fairly stiff consistency
- Grease the basin and the baking paper
- Fold an overlap into the centre of the paper
- Put the mixture into a greased basin, cover with the greased paper
- Tie the string around the basin firmly
- Bring the water in the steamer to the boil
- Carefully (the escaping steam will be very hot) put the basin in the top of the steamer and steam for 2 hours
- Do not let the water in the bottom of the steamer boil dry
- Serve hot with custard made with custard powder
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