1st May 2015
Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Noémie Reijnen
You’ll need a big pot to boil the pudding in and a large sheet of pudding cloth (Annie uses butter muslin) to wrap it in. You can eat it straight away but Annie prefers to leave it overnight and fry up slices of it the next day.
Serves 4 (or more if you’re having it with other things)
200g flour (and extra flour for dusting)
500g veal mince
3 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
A large sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
A few sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
Ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground mace
To make the pastry, combine the flour, suet and a good pinch of salt. Blitz them in a food processor adding cold water slowly until it forms a cohesive lump. Dust a clean surface with flour and knead the pastry for a minute or two – it needs to be moist but not so sticky that it’ll leave stickiness on your hands. Leave it aside to rest under a bowl, or, if your kitchen is hot, in the fridge.
In a large bowl, combine the veal mince with the bacon, herbs and spices to make sausage meat. Fill a very large pan with enough water to cover the pudding and bring it to the boil.
Clear the biggest surface you can find, dust it with flour and roll out the pastry into a large rectangle. It should be about twice as long as it is wide, but make sure it’s not too wide to fit in your pan. (Annie’s measured roughly 10 by 20 inches and was as close to a perfect rectangle as possible.)
Place the sausage meat in the middle of the rectangle and spread it evenly across the pastry using a spatula, leaving a couple of centimetres free around the edges. You can dip the spatula in water to keep the mixture from sticking to it. Once the pastry is properly coated, dampen the edges with water and carefully roll it up. Seal the top and sides using extra water if necessary. By now the pudding should look a bit like a marrow.
Fold the pudding cloth or muslin so you have two layers. Flour it really well to prevent sticking and wrap up the pudding, tying the ends with string – the aim is to make the pudding as watertight as possible. If water comes into contact with the pastry it will disintegrate. Through a cloth is fine, obviously, but make sure there are no holes or gaps.
Place the pudding in the pan of boiling water, which should only just cover it. Bring the water back to the boil and let it cook at a rolling boil, with the lid on, for at least an hour. (Suet pudding is really forgiving so don’t worry if it cooks for longer.)
Remove it carefully from the pan and unwrap the pudding. It’s not the most aesthetic dish in the world so don’t worry too much about how it looks. You can eat it straight away but I prefer to stick it in the fridge overnight (letting it cool first) and fry it up in inch-thick slices over the next few days. Or you could bake it in the oven so you end up with a crispy top coat and gooey pastry in between, which is very nice as well. It freezes well too.
Serve on its own or with poached eggs, kedgeree, devilled kidneys – that kind of thing.