The basic suet crust is easily made. I am of course using a good quality Vegetarian Suet here, which I have always found to work well. I've no idea how it compares to the usual variety, but I imagine there isn't a great deal of difference. The crust is a dough made by mixing the suet with flour and binding with cold water. Just a few tablespoons of water is enough, added gradually until it all binds.
It comes together really easily and soon forms a ball which can then be rolled out. You can still see the suet bits in the dough, but the paste is stretchy and pliable, rolls out well and generally doesn't stick to the surface if a little flour is added.
Fanny makes one large pudding, presumably so that Johnnie can get stuck in, but I'm opting for smaller individual sized ones. After two weeks in America I'm keen to return to smaller portions wherever I can! So I line circles of crust in buttered Dariole moulds and half fill them with a paste made from mixing desiccated coconut and maple syrup. This is topped with a circle of crust before another layer of mix and a final disc of suet to seal.
As Ina Garten herself might say, how easy is that? The moulds need to be covered in oiled greaseproof paper and foil and then steamed for around an hour. I always add a pleat in the paper to allow for any expansion. Fanny doesn't tell me to, but equally she doesn't give any instructions so it's assumed we know. I'm using my bamboo steamer this time, I love the smell it creates in the kitchen! Fanny recommends if you are making a mahoosive Johnnie-sized pudding that it should be steamed for two and a half hours. The individual ones look great, and turn out well. The coconut filling is deep and flavoursome, with a good kick of sweetness from the Maple Syrup. The suet crust is light and certainly wouldn't break any limbs if dropped on them. I can easily see why Johnnie would have thirds, so make a couple extra than you need just incase you have a Johnnie in your midst.