Friday, 18 November 2011

beef & ale pudding

Is there anything more comforting than a good pie? Well... yes... a suet pudding. 

With homemade mushy peas.

And buttery mash.

This certainly isn't like one of those floppy, tasteless steak and kidney puddings you get from the chippy on a Friday night. 

For one there's proper ale involved (always a good thing). 

Until you make this recipe (and I seriously hope you do), you won't understand the tension of turning the pudding out of its bowl. After around 6 hours of cooking, truly nerve wrecking. 

Don't be put off by the long cooking time, though. 90% of it is slow-cooking. Not exactly hard work, but it does mean there is a degree of patience involved. 

Beef & Ale Pudding

To make the recipe more economical, I doubled the amount of filling. This can either be used for another pudding or in a stew or cottage pie. 

Serves 4

For the filling

2tbsp vegetable oil
600g beef (for example brisket or shin), diced
2 onions, diced
2 garlic, roughly chopped
125ml oyster stout
200ml beef stock
1/2tbsp tom puree
1/2tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
50ml cold water

For the suet pastry

400g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
200g shredded suet
1/2 tsp table salt
300ml (approx) cold water

1 litre pudding bowl, buttered

Preheat oven Gas 2 (150°C/300°F)

In an oven-proof pan, heat the oil and add the beef, onions and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes before adding the ale, stock, tomato puree and sugar. Cover and bring to a simmer. Then place in the oven and cook for 4 hours.

Meanwhile, have a cup of tea and make the suet pastry.

In a bowl, mix the flour, suet and salt. Gradually stir in the water until it comes together to form a sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until needed. 

Remove the beef from the oven and place over a low heat, so that it comes to a gentle simmer. Mix 50ml of cold water into the flour, whisking to remove lumps. Stir this into the beef filling to thicken it. Take off the heat.

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut a third off. On a lightly dusted surface, roll out the rest of the dough to about 1cm thickness and cut out a circle about 30cm in diameter (use a plate to help you). Line the pudding bowl with the pastry, being careful not to break any parts of the pastry. 

Spoon the filling into the bowl, leaving a 2cm gap between the filling and the top. 

Roll out the leftover pastry to form a disc for the top of the pudding. Place over the filling and press the edges of the pastries together. If there are any gaps, the filling could leak out and result in disaster. 

Next, cover the top of the pudding bowl with a sheet of baking parchment, then a sheet of tin foil and tie with a piece of string.

Place a upturned saucer in a deep pan with the bowl on top. Fill with just boiled water to half way up. Cover the pan and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. 

Very carefully remove the bowl using oven gloves. Cut the string and take off the coverings, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use a round edged palette knife to loosen the pudding from the bowl and turn it out on to a plate. 


  1. Looks great, though I do like the ones from the chippy as well. Definitely have to try this one with you some time. x

  2. That looks like heaven on a plate, I do love suet pastry :)

  3. I shall definitely be making this - it's real comfort food.
    Kindest regards, Shirley I.

  4. It looks absolutely fantastic. :) I think I will makeit soon. :)

  5. It looks so tempting. You really are a great cook.