No ingredient of doubtful quality should enter into the composition of puddings. Suet must be perfectly sweet, and milk should be fresh and without the least unpleasant flavor. Suet when over kept and milk soured or curdled in the slightest degree, ruins a pudding which would otherwise be most delicious. Dried currants, such as are sold in the market, need very careful and thorough washing (after which they must be dried in a napkin), and raisins should be rubbed in a coarse towel to remove steins and all dirt from the outside, and afterward carefully seeded. Almonds and spices must be very finely pounded, and the rinds of oranges or lemons rasped or grated lightly off (the white part of the peel has no flavor and is an injury).
In making puddings, always beat the eggs separately, straining the yolks and adding the whites the last thing. If boiled milk is used, let it cool somewhat before adding the eggs; when fruit is added, stir it in at the last. Puddings are either baked, boiled or steamed; rice, bread, custard, and fruit puddings require a moderate heat; batter and corn starch, a rather quick oven. Always bake them as soon as mixed. Add a pinch of salt to any pudding.
Boiled puddings are lighter when boiled in a cloth and allowed full room to swell, but many use either a tin mold or bowl with cloth tied over it; grease the former well on the inside with lard or butter, and in boiling do not let the water reach quite to the top. The pudding-bag should be made of firm drilling, tapering from top to bottom, and rounded on the corners; stitch and fell the seams, which should be outside when in use, and sew a tape to the seam, about three inches from top. Wring the bag out of hot water, flour the inside well, pour in the pudding (which should be well beaten the instant before pouring), tie securely, leaving room to swell (especially when made of Indian meal, bread, rice, or crackers), and place in a kettle with a saucer at the bottom to prevent burning; immediately pour in enough boiling water to entirety cover the bag, which must be turned several times, keeping it boiling, constantly, filling up from the tea-kettle when needed. If the pud-ding is boiled in a bowl, grease, fill, and cover with a square of drilling wrung out of hot water, floured and tied on. To use a pan, tie a cloth tightly over the rim, bringing the ends back together, and pinning them over the top of the pan; the pudding may then be lifted out easily by a strong fork put through the ends or corners of the cloth. Open bag a little to let steam escape, and serve immediately, as delay ruins all boiled pudding. For plum puddings, invert the pan when put in the kettle, and the pudding will not become water-soaked. When the pudding is done, give whatever it is boiled in a quick plunge into cold water, and turn out at once, serving immediately. As a general rule, boiled puddings require double the time required for baked. Steaming is safer than either boiling or baking, as the pudding is sure to be light and wholesome. Put on over cold water and do not remove cover while steaming. In making sauces, do not boil after the butter is added. Use brown or powdered sugar for sauces. In place of wine or brandy, flavor with juice of the grape, or any other fruit prepared for this purpose in its season by boiling and bottling and sealing while hot. Pudding cloths, however coarse, should never be washed with soap, but in clear, clean water, dried as quickly as possible, and kept dry and out of dust in a drawer or cupboard free from smell. Dates are an excellent substitute for sugar in Graham or any other pudding. Fruit for preserving should always be gathered in perfectly dry weather and be free from dust and the morning and evening dew. Never use tin, iron or pewter spoons or skimmers for preserves.