Creaming Butter and Sugar, or Yolks of Eggs and Sugar.—The term "creaming" by no means describes the process by which butter and sugar, or yolks of eggs and sugar are amalgamated. Butter and sugar are pressed by means of a wooden spoon against the sides of a basin until the friction has softened the butter, and the ingredients are then stirred vigorously, keeping the bowl of the spoon constantly pressed against the sides or bottom of the basin, not alternately raised and lowered as in beating. In cold weather the butter may first be slightly warmed, but it must not be allowed to melt. Yolks of eggs and sugar are simply stirred together until thick and creamy.
Preparation of Dried Fruits.—As currants do not keep for any length of time they should never be bought in large quantities. They may be cleaned with a little flour on a sieve, but some cooks pour boiling water over them to plump them, and afterwards drain and dry them thoroughly. In either case, they must be dropped on a plate a few at a time to detect the stones. Sultanas should be cleaned with a little flour on a sieve and have the stalks removed, and Valencia raisins must be halved and stoned.
Boiled Puddings.—To ensure perfect cooking, the following rules, which apply equally to rich or plain, large or small puddings, must be observed.
1. The mould or basin must be perfectly dry and well coated with butter or fat.
2. The pudding must completely fill the mould or basin.
3. A scalded and floured cloth should be tied securely over the top of the basin, but rather loosely round a roly-poly or other pudding not boiled in a basin.
4. The water must be boiling rapidly when the pudding is put in.
5. The water must completely cover the pudding, and be deep enough to float those boiled in cloths, otherwise a plate or saucer must be placed at the bottom of the pan.
6. As the water boils away, boiling water must be added.
7. The pudding must stand a few minutes before being turned out, in order that some of the steam may escape, and thus cause the pudding to shrink and less liable to break.
Steamed Puddings.—Puddings steamed over water are lighter than when immersed in it, but they cook more slowly. A quicker method, and one that gives practically the same results, is to stand the pudding in a saucepan containing boiling water to about half the depth of the mould or basin, the surrounding water being frequently replenished with more boiling water. A pudding to be steamed should not more than three-quarters fill the basin; and two folds of paper, made waterproof by being rubbed with butter or fat, should cover the top instead of a cloth, which prevents the pudding rising.
Milk Puddings.—Milk puddings usually have the addition of eggs or some granular or powdered farinaceous substance, or they may consist