So like most people, feeling the cold, I longed for something rich and hearty. The kind of grub that sticks to the ribs. I looked in my store cupboard at the dwindling food supplies and my eyes fell upon a packet of vegetable suet (suitable for vegetarians and vegans), and a tin of Welsh Laverbread (cooked seaweed). Immediately I was inspired to make some suet puddings. I think the last time I made some was last year.
Traditionally steamed suet puddings contain meat. Of course you will not find any meat in these. In fact the filling in these steamed savoury puddings is very similar to the Welsh Laverbread Pies: containing mushrooms and Puy lentils. Oh before I forget to mention it, I also put a teaspoon of seaweed into the suet pastry for visual effect.
Welsh Laverbread Suet Pudding
Makes around 6, maybe 7 mini steamed puddings
Ingredients for the Laverbread, Mushroom filling
200g Portobello mushrooms
1 generous tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon plain flour
100ml vegetable stock
50g Puy lentils, cooked
100g - 120g Welsh Laver bread
Salt and pepper to taste
Wipe clean the mushrooms. Slice or quarter each mushroom. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent, but not brown. Sauté for 1 minute before adding in the mushrooms. Keep the heat high and cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently until softened.
Gradually add the flour and stir until evenly combined. Add the vegetable stock and stir, over high heat until the sauce thickens, before stirring in the puy lentils and laverbread. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
For the Suet Pudding
300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
100g vegetable suet
For the suet pudding
Mix all the dry ingredients and the herbs in a large bowl. Mix in enough cold water to make a firm dough.
Divide the filling between the pudding basins. The filling should be 1cm below the rim. Take each pudding in turn and with a sharp knife trim off the excess pastry level with the rim. Re-roll this excess pastry and cut out 5 circles big enough to cover the tops. Place the pastry tops on top of the filling and press the edges together to make a firm seal. Trim off any excess. *My pudding basins have lids, but if yours do not, cover with foil and tie with a jute string. Then place the puddings into a large steamer. Cover with the lid and steam for for 30 - 40 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked.
Leave to cool for a few minutes and then ease a small knife around each pudding and turn them out.