’Tis the season for those yummy holiday puddings – the British kind, that is. So out come the pudding bowls from the cupboard along with all the ingredients to make the perfect British-style pudding. But that’s not the only way these bowls can be used. Their size, shape, and even appearance makes them perfect for a number of different tasks in the kitchen and elsewhere. I’ve listed a few to get your brain firing on all cylinders. I’m sure you’ll come up with more.
First, a little bit about pudding bowls. Or more correctly, pudding basins. Unlike regular mixing bowls, pudding basins are used not only to mix the ingredients but to steam them. The basins have a raised rim that helps keep the covering of muslin or greaseproof paper in place (with the help of some kitchen twine). They come in different sizes, such as the 2-quart and 3-quart sizes shown at right. They are made of earthenware and are dishwasher safe.
As for the British pudding, there are sweet ones that are served mainly as deserts and savory ones that can be part of the meal. The closest thing we have in the U.S. to a savory pudding is bread stuffing, even though it is served loose as opposed to more firmly compacted during the steaming process. Favorite British puddings for Winter are Spotted Dick and baked fruit crumble, both sweet puddings usually served with a luscious custard (essentially a thick chilled cream).
Now to those alternate uses:
- Obviously, they can be used as mixing bowls for those breads, cakes, and other holiday treats.
- If you’re planning a big Jell-O dish, these bowls/basins can be good for that, too. You could use a gelatin mold, but if you’re expecting quite a horde, then that probably won’t do. The 3-quart size pudding bowl should be called into service here. You may need a bit more refrigeration time to be sure the gelatin solidifies all the way through, though. The tan bowls shown at right would be very attractive for serving this salad.
- They can be used to serve up other things, too, from other types of salads, to a huge amount of mashed potatoes (yum!), to Chex Mix (a holiday favorite).
- Food uses aren’t the limit here. Holders for potpourri, a flower arrangements, collection bowl for odds and ends (buttons, etc.) are just a few possibilities.
- They also make great gifts! In fact, you can put some pudding mix or fresh nuts or even fresh fruits or cookies in the smaller bowl, nested inside the bigger bowl and covered with some colorful plastic wrap and a nice bow.
Of course, you can buy the bowls, use them for some of the purposes above, and then buy ready-made puddings. What a plan!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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