A short while ago, someone handed me a tattered old baking booklet from Royal Baking Powder, dated 1896. Full of basic recipes for cakes and buns plus the odd pudding. This one caught my eye immediately and I could not wait to try it. I will be bringing you a few more over the next year or so. I will use inverted commas when quoting the little booklet.
½ lb figs chopped [I am presuming dried figs?]
½ lb Bread Crumbs
½ pint Milk
2 oz Brown Sugar
¼ lb Suet, finely chopped
2 tablespoonfuls of Flour [plain]
¼ teaspoonful Nutmeg
½ teaspoonful Royal Baking Powder
In the 1890s you would trot along to your local butcher and buy a piece of suet then grate or chop it yourself. My father was a butcher and I can still see my mother doing just that. Anyway, I will use Atora [not vegetable]. The milk would definitely have been full cream and I will also use soft dark brown sugar and stale white breadcrumbs from a loaf I had made.
“Put the Chopped Figs and Bread Crumbs into a bowl, boil the Milk and pour over them. Cover for a few minutes then stir in the Sugar, Suet, Flour, Nutmeg, and Eggs [well beaten] and Baking Powder. Mix thoroughly. Butter and Sugar a Basin, or mould, pour in the mixture and steam for two hours. Serve with sweetened Melted Butter”
Butter and Sugar a basin? I had never done that, so I used plenty of softened butter to grease the large basin, then generously sprinkled more soft dark brown sugar around the sides and bottom and tossed it around until all the butter was coated, discarding any loose.
Folk in those days would have used a muslin to cover but I used a double layer of baking parchment and foil, not forgetting to put a pleat in it to allow for the rise.
It was absolutely delicious, especially served with clotted cream!! I did not expect it to be so light either. My family had seconds, although we did not try the sweetened butter. I will definitely be making this again.
Note: The booklet used capital letters for the ingredients. I copied it as printed.