Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Black Sesame Fig Steamed Pudding with Miso Butterscotch Coconut Sauce: April Daring Baker's Challenge

Pork fat is all the rage these days in sweets. Bacon in chocolate, prosciutto ice cream, lard caramels. Duck fat isn't doing too poorly either. But suet. Poor suet, beef fat, used to make bird feeders (along with millet incidentally, one of my favorite grains). It gets no respect. It isn't surprising that the British use it in steamed puddings, since British food gets no respect either! But thanks to Harry Potter my kids think British food is worth trying, and they certainly were up for this month's Daring Baker challenge.

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Suet wasn't too hard to source. I just called up our great local butcher, Schaubs, and they confirmed they could supply some suet. In fact, suet is so unpopular, they just gave it to me. It crumbled easily away from the membrane and wasn't too difficult to use. I also made a pudding with shortening for the vegetarian in the crowd.

Of course - I couldn't go traditional. What is the fun in that? I have been obsessed with sesame and miso in desserts lately. Earthy, deep sesame with the sweet, salty, umami filled miso, topped off with the sweet overtones of figs and butterscotch. This combination is a winner. As far as using suet in pudding - I am not sold. I wanted the rich flavor of butter. So I might do this again with butter - sorry Brits, I am a butter devotee.

Miso Butterscotch

  • 1/4 cup white miso (make sure it is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 t roasted sesame oil 

Place miso, butter, agave, honey and brown sugar in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly like lava. Add the apple juice and stir to combine. Allow to reduce down to a thick butterscotch texture. Remove from heat and add sesame oil.

Miso Coconut Sauce

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, sliced into 3-4 long slices
  • 1/2 - 1 cup miso butterscotch sauce
  • sesame oil to taste

Heat coconut milk and apple juice with ginger in medium saucepan and reduce by half. Remove ginger. Add miso butterscotch sauce to taste, followed by sesame oil.

Black Sesame Fig Pudding

  • 5 ounces fine white rice flour
  • 3 ounces corn starch
  • 2 ounces tapioca starch
  • 2 ounces black sesame seeds
  • 10 ounces white sugar
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 T plus 1.5 t Baking powder
  • 8 ounces gluten-free breadcrumbs

  • 8 ounces Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
  • 3 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  •  up to 1 cup Cold milk

  1. Prepare 10 4 oz. ramekins by generously buttering sides and lining the bottom with parchment. 
  2. Set up a steamer setup. I used a large paella pan, with a cooling rack nestled inside. I covered the ramekins with foil.
  3. In a small food processor, spice grinder or with a stick blender mix together sesame seeds, and the sugar until the sesame seeds have become a powder.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together flours, ctarches, salt and baking powder and whisk to combine. 
  5. Add in breadcrumbs and sugar/sesame mixture and mix well to combine. 
  6. Add suet or substitute and stir to coat with flour mixture. 
  7. Whisk eggs in small bowl and add roasted sesame oil. Add 1/2 cup of cold milk. 
  8. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. 
  9. At this point, you are aiming for a droppable wet batter - not pourable. Add milk a little at a time so it is all moist and droppable, but not too wet. 
  10. Divide batter into ramekins. 
  11. Steam for about 1 1/2 hours or until set.
  12. Unmold immediately and serve with warm miso coconut sauce and whipped creme fraiche or greek yogurt.


  1. Wow, those ingredients sound very complex! Nice job on your challenge!

  2. Wow, that sounds so good! I love your creativity

  3. Now that is one flavour combination so intriguing so complex I love sweet with umami. Your photographs are so pretty love the 1st one a lot. Great work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax from Sydney in Australia.

  4. Wow, the flavor combination is so unique! I could never come up with something so creative. I guess my palate isn't sophisticated enough ;)

  5. Mmm, butterscotch! I'd so eat that! }:P