• Steamed Stem Ginger Pudding made with butternut squash and ground almonds

A Tale of Two Puds

Sweet, sticky, warming, rib-sticking, comforting nursery food of my childhood day dreams. Yes, I’m talking about steamed pudding. How could I be meaning anything else? As a wee tot my nan would make steamed golden syrup puddings as a rare treat (pudding was not a regular feature in Casa Cranny) and I would sit in one of our burgundy leather armchairs with a bowl (usually my Peter Rabbit one) and spoon in sweet mouthfuls in slowly, to savour every last mouthful.

I’m sure I’ve never ate a steamed pud with a single other thought in my head, save the one that I’m sure this is the most perfect form of pudding that has ever graced English homes across the land. However, that was back in my pre-18 years when I was training very hard at ballet training everyday and was going the gym for someone like 10 hours a week – these days, though my love of the pud has not diminished, my ability to burn it off has dulled somewhat!

Imagine the tears of joy when I discovered a “healthy” steamed pudding and one which, I promise, tastes every mouthful naughty and unctuous, not one bit virtuous and self righteous! This was that very pud…


This towering, orange bejewelled offering is that very pud and comes to you from a rather contentious book in that it divides opinion to those willing to try anything once and those a bit terrified of what they behold in the ingredients list. I could be talking of none other than Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.

Harry is a hopeless romantic and clearly a bit of a daydreamer (anyone who knows me will realise I consider her somewhat of a kindred spirit of mine!) who adores cake and wanted to find a way to get it into her life in the healthiest way she could imagine. So she reduced the sugar, swapped plain for rice flour and most controversial of all, she swapped butter for …. vegetables. Oh yes she did!

And I can’t get enough of her, this book and the wondrous cakes and bakes that come from its fairytale-like illustrated pages. Now I may have written down the wrong veg for this particular pudding so I used grated parsnip rather than turnip (I mustn’t be the only Northerner whom uses these two names synonymously?!) but I truly, madly, deeply promise you do not taste “parsnip”.

You taste a moist, unctuous, orange perfumed and muskily cardamom studded pudding fit for angels to guzzle on not-so-much reinforced clouds! Based on the success of this pud (only 220 calories a portion) I created my own version – a stem ginger pud which you can bake or steam, using butternut squash in place of butter! Let’s begin with a rhapsody of orange…


Lemon zest tempers the sweet and is essential in ginger puddings to me. As for the stem ginger – look at that almost glass-like, almost jelly-like consistency with a haunting ochre glow. Big love to the humble ginger root!


I like to add ground ginger which brings warming spice and heat – you could use a tablespoon if you’re a ginger addict like me. I’ve not stipulated so much in the recipe to follow – perhaps you’d like to add other spices and that’s more than fine by me 🙂


As there is no butter to cream in this recipe, you whisk up the eggs and sugar to make a mousse to which you fold in the remaining ingredients before pouring into your pudding basin which has been buttered, drizzled with the syrup from your stem ginger jar and encrusted with some of the latter finely chopped to help with that sticky “jammy” layer on the top of your pud.


Now here is where I get even more renegade – having bought a rice cooker pot which can go in the oven from my friend’s Jamie At Home party, I decided to make my pud in it for its maiden voyage. It worked a treat so I have included the method in my recipe but also, I’ve included the method for making a steamed version as this undoubtedly makes a moister, lighter version although this baked one is almost indistinguishable from its more traditional counterpart. Here is the proof.


A flaming sunset of a pud, just look at that colour! The butternut has offered up all it’s orangeness long with the baking process concentrating the ginger syrup into this almost day-glow dessert. Let’s see inside too…


Moist through and through – both the vegetable quotient and the ground almonds provide the luscious texture you see before you. Honestly, look beyond the apparent “weirdness” of this recipe and just give it a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Harry challenges how we think about the sweet treats in our life and has researched each and every item and made sure it’s as good as can be before publishing her book (which I adore, had you not already noticed that!) and if I can convert just one reader with this post, I’ll be one happy bunny boo.

Time for one last shot before you can get your hands on Harry’s orange pud and my ginger one – for what is a steamed pud without a river of custard (Bird’s Custard Powder custard, for full nostalgic effect) surrounding its golden peaks 🙂


Orange & Cardamom Steamed Pudding

Orange & Cardamom Steamed Pudding
Servings: 10
: 208 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g finely grated parsnip
  • Zest of 2 oranges then finely peel & slice one
  • Bashed seeds of 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp runny hunny
  • 150 g rice flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  1. Grease a 2 litre pudding basin with a little butter - if it comes with a lid, butter that too, if not, make one by taking a square of grease proof and a piece of foil the same size; fold a pleat 1-2 inches deep right across the middle of these two together then grease the paper side and set aside for now.
  2. Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and frothy - at least 4 mins high speed whisking.
  3. Whisk in the parsnip, zest and cardamom seeds (discard the pods and bash the seeds only in a mortar and pestle) until just combined.
  4. Fold in the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt.
  5. Drizzle the honey into the bottom of your pudding basin.
  6. Pop as many orange slice as you like in the base of your basin, arranging prettily as they will be the decoration when you turn the pudding out.
  7. Carefully spoon in the batter then take your lid (if using paper and foil, pop it on top of the pud, maintaining the pleat and tieing securely with string; crimp up the foil around the neck of the basin so water can't hitch a ride up it into your pud).
  8. Pop the lot in a large, deep saucepan and fill it with boiling water to come only to about 1-2 inches below the foil.
  9. Cook on the hob at a steady not violent simmer for 90 minutes, checking that the pan hasn't boiled dry at intervals.
  10. Remove and allow to stand for a mere 5 minutes with the lid removed then invert into a plate with a lip to catch any honey trying to escape and serve in slices with lots of custard .
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Harry Eastwood of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache fame

Stem Ginger Pudding

Stem Ginger Pudding
Servings: 10
: 223 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 200 g raw butternut finely grated
  • Zest of a lemon finely grated
  • 3 balls of stem ginger finely chopped
  • 4-6 tbsp syrup from stem ginger jar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g golden caster sugar
  • 150 g rice flour or plain
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 rounded tsp ground ginger
  • Butter to grease
  1. Beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until thick, pale and frothy.
  2. Whisk in the butternut, lemon zest and 2/3 of the stem ginger.
  3. Butter a 2 litre pudding basin (or your Jamie At Home Really Useful Rice Cooker, or similar ovenproof pot!) and sprinkle on the remaining chopped stem ginger followed by the syrup.
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients together briefly then fold into the egg and butternut mixture.
  5. Carefully pour into your pot/basin trying not to splash the syrup about too much.
  6. Cover with the lid or make one out of a square of grease proof paper and the same size in a piece of foil; pleat along the middle then tie around the neck of the pot with string to fasten it.
  7. Now you have two choices - either put your ovenproof pot in an oven preheated to 200˚C and bake for approx 1 hour checking after 45 minutes for doneness.
  8. OR! Pop your covered pudding basin in a deep saucepan and then pour in boiling water to come to about 2 inches below the lid (made by you or supplied with your pot); cook at a steady simmer for 90 minutes, topping up with water as necessary.
  9. Either way, when cooked remove whatever lid you have used and loosen the edges of the pudding gently with a thin plastic spatula or knife if you need to.
  10. Invert the pudding onto a shallow dish or plate with a lip then slice and serve (with custard 😉 ).
Recipe Notes

This freezes very well - just wrap individual portions in foil well before freezing. I don't have a microwave so defrost cakes by popping them on a plate over a bowl of just boiled water for 30 minutes, turning over once or twice to ensure it is fully defrosted - I sometimes pop them in the oven for 5 -10 minutes on a low heat if I want them hot but often I don't, and just serve with piping hot custard instead. Do feel free to defrost how you see fit!

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  1. frugalfeeding 7th May 2012 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    That top pudding is literally incredible, so pretty!

    • jobakes 7th May 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you Frugal. I think it just *might* be my favourite pudding ever – bold claim but it’s hard to see any other contenders… 🙂

  2. NickkiT 7th May 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    oh Jo they look delish! I adore steamed puds, they are a big part of my childhood 🙂 I don’t know which one to try first..they both look so good! Loving the fact these recipes are healthy versions..guilt free! 😉

    • jobakes 7th May 2012 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Totally 😉 I can’t tell you the calorie content for my pud but it can’t be much if any more than the orange one. I reckon they would both work beautifully in individual moulds – that’s my next job with these, once I’ve got through the 10 spare slices in my freezer 😉

  3. Pamela 8th May 2012 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    They look scrumptious Jodie. YUM. I remember having steamed puds a lot when I was little, my mum can get one bubbling away without consulting a recipe – seriously! I have often made Nigella’s golden syrup one in HTBADG, which is gorgeous but doesn’t have anything remotely healthy in it, like parsnips…..

    • jobakes 8th May 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      It’s a leap of faith Pam, I know it is but once you jump, you can’t go back! I’ve served these to many unsuspecting folk so far who remained unsuspecting, not one could name the veg I used, nor could they pick up on the lack of butter. Genius that Eastwood lass is, sheer genius 🙂

  4. Ellen 11th May 2012 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Ah! I just came across a caramel apple steamed pudding (admittedly less healthy…), and I was like, “What on earth is a steamed pudding?” Sad, I know, but I’ve since learned! I really want to make it now. Anything else you can use besides a pudding mold? I heard a large bowl works?

    • jobakes 12th May 2012 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Well that sounds a wonderful pud – caramel is my favourite flavour in desserts in the whole wide world! As for using something else to steam it in – well the easy answer is yes however, whatever you pick, it must be heatproof. I have a large (like 10 cup) measuring jug from the Pampered Chef (not sure if there sell in the US?) that you can bake in as it’s heatproof upto 200 degrees C. Over here, plastic pudding basins are super cheap – perhaps do an online search for local retailers? 🙂

      • Ellen 12th May 2012 at 7:31 pm - Reply

        Oh I bet there’s bunches if I took the time to look, just wondering about what else one can use. I also have a measuring jug, but I believe it’s Pyrex, not Pampered Chef. Should do the job though! So you just use a big honkin’ pot full of water to fit it in?

        • jobakes 12th May 2012 at 7:37 pm - Reply

          Yes you need a pot that accommodates the size of your “basin”, whatever it may be! You need the water to come up about 1-2 inches below the top and keep it just simmering away merrily as it bakes. Another way of getting your steamed pud fix is to use dariole moulds (very well buttered first) and make individual ones which are much much quicker to cook. I’ve done the orange one like this with great success :). With the little ones, you could use a bamboo steamer if you have one big enough and that works just as well. You’ve got to try a steamed pudding Ellen, the texture is quite unique in a really good way and it’s so comforting – a hug in the form of a pud!

  5. Jayne 3rd June 2012 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Wow Jo, your steamed pud looks lovely – reminds me of the ones my Mum used to make merrily steaming on the cooker for seemingly hours on end – but the result mmmmm I can taste it now!! Brilliant 🙂

    • Jo Blogs 3rd June 2012 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Thank you Jayne! Steamed puds are the stuff of memory for sure 🙂 Give it a try, a healthy version of a childhood favourite surely is worth a go? 🙂

  6. Heather 28th February 2015 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I had never made a steamed pudding, although I love to eat them, so I was a bit nervous. I made the stem ginger pudding for a friend’s birthday lunch. I was worried because the mix was very liquid and I sort of expected a cake mix consistency. I needn’t have worried – it turned out fab: really light, moist and scrumptious and it looked impressive too. Leftovers (only because we overate on the first and second courses) re-heated really well in the microwave and were eagerly devoured with lashings of hot custard. I will definitely be making this again.

    • Jo Blogs 28th February 2015 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Fabulous! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it and it went so well for your first steamed pud 😀

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