If the winter weather is getting you down or you're feeling grey or sad, I'm certain a steamed treacle sponge will put you right in no time at all. It takes moments to prepare, will steam away happily all by itself without needing attention, and is the ultimate in comfort foods.
1 tablespoon black treacle
3 tablespoons golden syrup
6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
6 oz (175 g) butter, softened
3 large eggs
6 oz (175 g) soft light brown sugar
3 extra tablespoons golden syrup
custard or crème fraîche
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You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin, well buttered, a large mixing bowl, greaseproof paper and foil measuring 16 in by 12 in (40 cm x 30 cm), some string and scissors.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Winter Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Jan 1994).
First of all butter the basin, then measure 3 tablespoons of golden syrup into it. Then take a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking powder into it, add the softened butter, eggs, sugar and black treacle.
Next, using an electric hand whisk (or a large fork and lots of elbow grease), beat the mixture for about 2 minutes until it's thoroughly blended.
Now spoon the mixture into the basin and level the top using the back of the tablespoon. Place the sheet of foil over the greaseproof paper, make a pleat in the centre, and place this, foil-side uppermost, on top of the pudding.
Pull it down the sides and tie the string, taking the string over the top and tying it on the other side to make yourself a handle for lifting.
Trim off the excess paper all the way round.
Now steam the pudding for 2 hours, checking the water level halfway through.
To serve, loosen the pudding all round using a palette knife, invert it on to a warmed plate, and pour an extra 3 tablespoons of syrup (warmed if you like) over the top before taking it to the table.