It was Christmas 2016 when I got my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and it was during 2017 that I enthusiastically experimented with making Christmas puddings in it. Where once Christmas pudding was a task that took hours of boiling in a steamy kitchen, suddenly it was an hour long task from start to finish and most of that didn't involve any kind of supervision from me.
Having well and truly cracked the Christmas pudding (early in September), I went on to experiment with other kinds of steamed pudding... syrup, jam... etc. And then, of course, we were into pumpkin season once again and I began to wonder if we could make a pumpkin-themed steamed pudding. The Halloween lanterns were freshly carved and we were due to have my parents over for dinner and fireworks the weekend closest to 5th November.
So, it was no surprise that, after the obligatory oohing and ahhing at the fireworks, we returned to the warmth of the house to enjoy a dinner of homemade hot dogs followed by Spiced Pumpkin Steamed Pudding.
My dad has always loved pudding and particularly anything that can be liberally coated with custard. It was, therefore, pleasing to see him tucking in to his dessert. In fact, it was very pleasing because he was terribly ill and his appetite was not what it used to be.
Later we helped this frail old man (how had he become that?) back to the car and my mum thanked us for a lovely evening (a moment of respite from his care), before driving him home.
It was a month later that he died. I haven't been able to bring myself to make the steamed puddings again since then. I'm sure I will do some day, though, as they are delicious and I have transcribed the recipe into my family recipe book. The recipes in a family recipe book have the magical ability to take us back to particular times and places... and people... and this one is no exception.
Spiced Pumpkin Steamed Pudding (makes 4)
225g dates, chopped
115g plain flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
1½ tsp mixed spice, pinch of salt
125g pumpkin puree
115g dark brown sugar
60g vegetable oil
2 tsp orange marmalade
A few drops of vanilla extract
Grease 4 mini (1/4 pint) pudding basins. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry and the chopped dates and mix into a batter. Spoon into the pudding basins and cover each one with parchment paper and foil. Boil basins for 45 minutes in a pan of water or steam in an Instant Pot on vent for 10 minutes then set to manual on low pressure for 35 minutes, followed by quick pressure release. Serve with custard.
(Sorry, no photo. It was an evening for taking photos of the family not the food and I haven't had the opportunity to photograph it since.)