A pleasingly light yet traditional pudding for wintry days, this offers all the pleasure of a steamed pudding without the unhealthy saturated fat of suet. Layers of sliced cumquats add a deliciously tangy citrus flavour.
Place the honey in the bottom of a 900 ml pudding basin and turn it so that the honey coats the bottom half. Set aside.
Place breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, flour and baking powder. Add egg, milk and margarine and mix together to form a stiff cake-like mixture.
Place a quarter of the pudding mixture in the basin and arrange half the cumquat slices on top. Add half the remaining mixture and top with the remaining cumquats. Finish with the pudding mixture. Press down lightly to smooth the surface.
Bring a steamer or deep saucepan of water to the boil. Cover the pudding basin with aluminium foil and tie string round the rim. Use more string to make a handle. Place the basin in the steamer. The water should come halfway up the basin. Cover and steam for 1 3/4 hours, adding water as necessary.
About 20 minutes before serving, make the custard. Place the eggs, sugar and 3 tablespoons milk in a bowl and beat. Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Pour the milk over the egg mixture, stirring, then strain it all back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spoon thinly. Do not allow to boil. Stir in the vanilla essence.
When the pudding is cooked, carefully remove the basin from the steamer. Remove the foil, place a plate over the top of the basin and invert it. Serve the pudding hot with the custard.
Milk provides calcium and phosphorus – both important for strong bones and teeth – as well as protein and many B vitamins.