From the finest to the most humble of cuts, grass-fed Scotch beef is as good as it gets, writes Neil Forbes as he gives us his recipe for steamed beef suet apple sponge

  • 360
  • Makes four small or one large pudding
  • Medium
Beef is not just beef. Seek out the best you can afford and try to support your local butcher, farm shop or market stall. Experiment with unusual, cheaper cuts using different techniques. But remember, only ever buy Scotch beef.  As a mark of respect, I like to use everything the animal gave us for our dinner plates. So for dessert I’m using minced fat from around the kidneys, otherwise known as suet, exactly what you would use in a dumpling or dough ball, with the simple addition of flour and sugar. So no need for butter. You can use any fruit as a filling – rhubarb, berries and apples, say. It has an incredibly rich flavour so is not for everyone, but try it.

Ingredients

  • 110g minced beef suet
  • 50g unsalted butter, diced
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g plain flour (and a little extra for rolling)
  • pinch of salt
  • 90g unrefined caster sugar (plus
  • 1 tbsp for mixing with the apples)
  • 6 to 8 small organic eating apples like a Red Pippin, peeled, cores removed and roughly diced
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • 1 small tsp mixed spice
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup, warmed

Method

Steamed beef suet apple sponge

1 Generously butter 4 dariole moulds or 1 one litre pudding basin, then line each base with a disc of greaseproof paper.

2 Heat your oven to 175C/Gas Mark 4½. Mix the suet into the self-raising flour and plain flour by hand, then add salt and rub in the sugar. Add a little cold water to make a firm, but not too wet, dough. Set to one side.

3 Mix the diced apple, lemon zest, mixed spice and 1 tablespoon of sugar together in a bowl.

4 On a floured surface, roll four fifths of the dough into a 1cm thick circle to line the basin.

5 Press the dough into the sides of the basin so it feels even, ensuring there are no holes. Then add the apple mix to the lined basin. Roll out the remaining dough and place on the top, pressing the edges to seal.

6 Grease one side of a large piece of foil, then do the same with a piece of greaseproof paper, then wrap both around the basin (foil on the outside), tying at the top with some string. Place in a pot of boiling water so the water reaches halfway up the side of the basin. Cover the pot with a sheet of foil and place in the oven for 3 hours, or 2 hours if you’re making small ones. To serve, remove the foil and paper and tip the pudding out onto a plate, drizzle over warm golden syrup and serve with custard.

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About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.

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About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.