This section is from the book "Economical Cookery", by Marion Harris Neil. Also available from Amazon: Economical Cookery (1918).
"Variety is the mother of enjoyment."
All ingredients for puddings should be fresh and of good quality. It is a false economy to use for them any materials that have been too long stored, as the slightest degree of musti-ness in any one of the articles will spoil all that are combined with it. Eggs should always be broken separately into a cup before they are added to the other ingredients, as a single bad one will occasion the loss of many when this precaution is neglected. The perfect sweetness of suet and milk should be especially attended to before they are mixed into a pudding, as nothing can be more offensive than the first when it is kept too long, nor worse in its effect than the curdling of the milk, which is the certain result of its being soured.
Fruits should be cleaned with great care; the rinds of oranges and lemons grated lightly off, that the bitter part of the skin may be avoided; if pared, they should be cut as thin as possible.
A very little salt improves all sweet puddings, taking off the insipidity and bringing out the full flavor of the other ingredients, but its presence should not be perceptible.
Puddings are as a rule either boiled, steamed, or baked. When boiling puddings, the mold or bowl must be quite full, or the water will get in. Cover with a greased paper, then tie a cloth over the top, and tie the four corners of the cloth across. Place the pudding in a saucepan with boiling water to well cover, and keep the water boiling the whole time. If more water be added, it must be boiling.
For pudding cloths, use material such as linen or cheesecloth. Puddings are lighter when steamed than when boiled, but a longer time must then be allowed for cooking, from one third to twice the time. In steaming puddings, have them at a uniform heat all the time, and be careful not to lift the lid off the pan for the first thirty minutes. When steaming a pudding, the mold need not be quite full, but it must be covered with a greased paper or lid to keep the water out. Very light puddings, such as custards or souffles, should be placed in a steamer. Puddings made of suet may stand in a saucepan with boiling water to come about a third the depth of the mold, taking care that the water does not boil over into the pudding. Most of the suet puddings, mixed a little softer, are excellent baked in a pudding dish. Cornstarch for puddings must be well cooked, from eight to ten minutes. Batters must be well beaten and allowed to stand for thirty minutes or longer before cooking, because the starch in the flour swells. Batter puddings should be put into a quick oven. Puddings composed principally of eggs and milk should be gently cooked, as strong heat will cause them to curdle. When a pudding is served it should round out the meal, furnishing something that is lacking. If the meal has not contained enough starchy food, use a pudding made of bread, tapioca, rice, or corn meal.