Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Vegetarian suet Mushroom Pudding

My mother-in-law is here with us. She braved the snow and decided to fly up to Snowy Scotland. She’s hardly been here long and is already worried about getting back to Essex as more snow is predicted here and apparently it is due to come back with a vengeance.

I usually make these steamed savoury vegetable puddings in individual basins, but this time for convenience I thought I would create a large one. It turned out great. One thing I noted is taking photographs when feeding guests who are waiting patiently to be fed is a firm no, no. Its not such a problem when serving dessert, but main meals which are made of different components or side servings is a different matter.

I knew D would like this dish. He’s already a convert of my steamed savoury puddings, I wasn’t too sure about my mother in law who is much more familiar with the traditional version of 'Steak and kidney pudding'. But I had nothing to worry about. The meaty texture and rich gravy sauce oozing from the chestnut mushroom filling was appreciated. To top that the doughy pastry casing comforted like dumplings. Warming and perfect for our dark and cold evenings.

The pastry for this savoury pudding is made from suet. Suet is used in old fashion English puddings like Roly Poly, Spotted Dick, Christmas sweet mincemeat and savoury meat dishes such as Steak and kidney pudding. I’ve written about suet on my blog before (see here). In the past I’ve also received a number of questions and comments about suet and its suitability for vegetarians and vegans. In a nutshell, traditional suet is the particular fat which surrounds the loins and kidneys of cattle. It is white, gelatinous and fibrous, when grated or chopped and mixed with flour it is used in cooking and baking. What makes suet unique is its capacity to give the pastry when cooked a soft spongy elastic and doughy crust - a bit like a bouncy dumpling. But as with most things - haggis, black pudding and bacon - there are vegetarian alternatives to suet. At least one that I know of is suitable for a vegan diet. This is what I have used in my Mushroom pudding. If you live outside of the U.K, it is very unlikely that you will find suet in supermarkets. Suet is quintessentially a very British ingredient.

For the mushroom filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
400g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil, add the onions and cook until soft. Then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until beginning to soften, then stir in the thyme, tomato puree and season to taste. Cook for a few more minutes before removing from the heat to cool down.

For the Vegetarian Suet Pudding300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
100g vegetarian suet (make sure it is suitable for vegans too, as not all are)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Cold water
Method for the suet puddingMix all the dry ingredients and the herbs in a large bowl. Mix in enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll the pastry out on a well-floured work surface, to about 3mm thick circles that are big enough to fill the pudding basin with a small overhand. Line the pudding bowl with the pastry, gently easing it round the sides for a snug fit. Gently spoon in the filling. The filling should be 1cm below the rim. With a sharp knife trim off the excess pastry level with the rim. Re-roll this excess pastry and cut out circle big enough to cover the top. Place the pastry tops on top of the filling and press the edges together to make a firm seal. Trim off any excess. Put on lid or cover with foil. Then place the pudding into a large steamer. Cover with the lid and steam for for 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then turn out and serve immediately.


  1. Looks delicious! I'm glad your mother-in-law liked it.

  2. Love this savoury pudding, specially with all those mushrooms....totally new to me & I totally love it....

  3. The pudding looks amazing! :-) for trying to take photos when guests are waiting for dinner!


  4. Hey there.Thank you for stopping by!OMG..I love your blog..so so healthy and out of the garden recipes.This pudding is something new to me but sounds very interesting with mushrooms & chestnut filling.Thanks for sharing!

  5. Long live the suet pudding, even vegetarian ones! sounds delicious.

  6. Thank you LeLa.

    Thank you so much Spice.
    I am so pleased that you like the sound of this savoury pudding.

    Thanks Alessandra.
    I accept your :-) graciously

    Thanks for repaying the compliment Tanvi.
    I am so pleased you have enjoyed your visit here and have found something new here. Kind wishes.

    Thank you Cottage Garden Farmer.
    I am so delighted to read that you comment. I hope your keeping warm.

  7. delicious and tempting pudding

  8. good god woman that looks delicious!!! here's a favorite google of 'where to find suet in portland': i got 'the men's wearhouse', heheee

  9. Thank you Soumya.

    And that is so funny. Anyway, on your very recent trip here - Did you pick some veggie suet? I remember you mentioning on my blog that you saw them at the supermarkets here.

  10. I would have love to share this meal!
    I will have to try it myself to taste!
    It looks fabulous!
    Good luck with the snow. We are in it now, but it's normal here.
    Have a nice week.

  11. sadly you are right about not finding suet in my neck of the woods - I always have to substitute butter in my christmas puddings - would love to have it to make this steamed pudding with mushrooms - looks wonderful - how could not mother in law not be impressed!

  12. Looks lovely - a great treat for vegetarian and non-veggies alike!

    I always get grumbles from Master M when I am taking photos of my creations but needs must.

  13. Thanks spécialiste de l'éphémère.
    Snow normal where you are, maybe we should take lessons from your country on how to cope with transport links.

    Thank you so much Johanna GGG.
    You are fortunate to have family in the U.K though who could perhaps send you some (if its permitted with customs?!). Mother in law approved of this, other dishes yet to come.

    Thanks Domestic Goddess Wannabe.
    One benefit is that food is allowed to cool before consuming :)

  14. What a beautiful dish! I've never heard of such a thing - it looks divine!

  15. Thank you so much Anna A.
    It is a very British dish.

  16. Looks super fantastic! I love mushrooms, and those are just spilling out, I love it!

  17. Thanks Dishesdone.
    Nice to meet you albeit virtually.

  18. ooo this looks good! I love traditional english recipes made vegetarian!

  19. This looks grand...if I cannot locate suet, any suggestions? I'm looking online.

  20. Thank you Vegetairan Girl.
    It sure was good.

    I've checked on line and found the link below selling a different brand of vegetable suet that can be purchased on-line. I am not familiar with this brand so cannot vouch for it.

    If you wanted and if customs permitted where you are, I would be happy to post you a packet. Let me know via my e mail. No obligation.

  21. Fabulous looking dish and so seasonal too!

    1. Thank you Rachel. I must make it again.


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