Around the holidays, English desserts known as steamed puddings, a category that includes currant-laden spotted dick (see “Old School“), are prepared from a thick, cakelike batter made with beef suet, a firm fat from around the cow’s kidneys that lends tenderness to the treat. The batter is poured into a covered pan and gently cooked in a water bath on the stovetop. Traditional lidded pudding tins, decoratively molded out of aluminum, can be found in specialty shops, but we learned that a plain ceramic ramekin produces just as good a pudding. The key is to cover the ramekin with a piece of parchment paper that hangs slightly over its edges so it can be tied tightly around the dish with kitchen twine.

See the recipe for Spotted Dick with Custard Sauce »