Monday, 5 May 2014

Fanny Cradock goes nuts for an Austrian Nusspudding!

If you haven't guessed it yet, Fanny Cradock loves steamers. For those that haven't quite picked up the hint yet, she quotes herself in the partwork saying "A steamer is to a good cook what a pressure cooker is to an ignorant one". Fanny doesn't like pressure cookers. Her evidence is based on rigorous testing of course, putting them through their paces with a delicate spring chicken. No jokes required. The poor bird emerged from it's pressurised time tasting like a bath sponge. Presumably Fanny tested those too. No moisture was the main complaint - the concentrated flavour of the bird had been 'purged out by pressure'. Fanny says 'stick to your steamer and you will never go wrong" - you might, like me, expect her to follow on with a chicken recipe but the poor spring chicken isn't mentioned again. We just have to take Fannys word for it I suppose. Instead Fanny takes us on an adventure to Austria.

Fanny describes this steamed Nusspudding - or Nut Pudding of course - as a very delicate and really rather super pudding which can be made with any kind of nuts. Fanny recommends hazelnuts or perhaps walnuts but simply can't resist adding in an option 'if you happen to be a millionaire' - pistachios. You just know that Fanny and Johnnie would use pistachios, and feeling like maybe I could aspire to be well-to-do myself that's what I opt for. 

This Austrain delight is made using fine, soft, white breadcrumbs and quite a lot of them. I don't have any fresh, or even nearly fresh, bread to hand, but I do have a ginormous bag of Panko breadcrumbs that I picked up at my local Chinese Supermarket. They were a bargain, hopefully Fanny would approve, especially given the carefree way I went straight to the millionaires choice of pistachios. I reckon they will work here as step one is to cover them in cold water and wring them out in a clean, dry cloth. 

The breadcrumbs really form the base of the pudding, there's no added flour after that. Fanny gets me to 'set to' beating up the butter until it's fluffy, creaming in some caster sugar and then adding in separated egg yolks and spoonfuls of soaked crumbs in small quantities. After they've all been beaten in well, add the freshly 'milled' pistachios. I whizzed mine up in the food processor. The last addition is the egg whites whisked to very stiff peaks and gently folded in. It's actually looking and feeling like a soufflé at this stage.

Fanny must've been thinking the same, as she suggests steaming this one in a soufflé dish. Usual steaming rules apply - oiled papers first then cover with foil. I am taking Fannys advice here too and making a 'strap' out of foil to allow me to easily remove it once steamed. I'm improvising a little here and just using a large saucepan with a wee terracotta dish in the bottom as my steamer. The covered soufflé dish sits on the dish surrounded by gently steaming water, perfect. Fanny gives two top tips - do not peek at it once it's in or it will result in a hollow pud, and don't for some reason bang the steamer down on the kitchen table once done, or it will all go wrong. I'm guessing either one of the assistants did this, or some poor soul who wrote in to tell Fanny her recipe failed. So, advice noted and some three hours later - Fanny never pretended steaming is quick - I lift the pudding out, unwrap it and carefully turn it out. It looks glorious, cuts well and tastes great! If your purse will still stretch to it, Fanny says to serve it with a rich hot chocolate sauce. Mmm, those Austrians know a thing or two about puddings.


  1. Yum, that looks great and love the idea of the pistachios. Despite not being a millionaire I reckon I could stretch to using them and chocolate sauce!

    1. The pistachios are fabulous in this, even for us less well off folk ;-) Thanks!