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Favorites for Dessert : Tasty Steamed Puddings Are as Traditional as the Holidays Themselves

December 26, 1986

That wasn't really a plum Jack Horner pulled out of his pudding. In truth it was a raisin, because in Renaissance England raisins were called plums. They were an important ingredient in the holiday puddings that became popular toward the end of the 1600s.

These steamed pudding recipes crossed the Atlantic with the early colonists and became an American tradition as well. It was only natural that blueberries, cranberries and persimmons growing in the New World found their way into the holiday favorites.

Traditionally plum puddings were prepared a year ahead and stored in a cool dry place. If a good storage area is available, now's the time to make some 1987 puddings. But even if a place cool and dry the year 'round is not handy, these traditional desserts can be made and enjoyed the same season.

Investing in a pudding mold might be a good idea if steamed puddings are an annual project. However, any heavy mold may be used when well covered with foil. Fill two-thirds with the pudding mixture, cover and place on a trivet or rack in a large kettle containing boiling water. Steam as the recipe directs, adding more boiling water if necessary.

Allow the pudding to rest long enough for the steam to escape before unmolding. Serve warm with a complementary sauce.

WILD BLUEBERRY STEAMED

PUDDING

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup milk

2 3/4 cups unsifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons hot water

2 cups dry-pack frozen blueberries

Hard Sauce

Combine molasses, maple syrup and milk in bowl. Stir in flour. Combine baking soda and water and stir into flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into greased and floured 1 1/2-quart mold. Cover with greased foil, crimping foil around edge to seal. Place mold on trivet in pan with enough boiling water to come half way up sides of mold.

Cover and simmer 3 hours. Lift mold from pan, then remove foil and let stand 5 minutes. Unmold onto serving platter. Serve hot with Hard Sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Hard Sauce

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Sherry

1 tablespoon whipping cream

Bring butter to room temperature. Beat with powdered sugar, Sherry and whipping cream until smooth and fluffy.

CRANBERRY PUDDING

3 cups cranberries

1 cup pecans

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup dark molasses

1/2 cup warm water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Eggnog Sauce

Combine cranberries, pecans, flour, baking soda, brown sugar, molasses, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in bowl. Pour batter into greased 2-quart pudding mold. Cover with greased foil.

Place mold on trivet in pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of mold. Cover tightly and simmer 2 1/2 hours. Lift mold from pan, then remove foil and let stand 5 minutes.

Unmold onto serving platter. Serve with Eggnog Sauce. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Eggnog Sauce

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups prepared eggnog

1/4 cup rum

1/2 cup sugar

Combine butter, eggnog, rum and sugar in saucepan. Heat, stirring, until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture is steaming hot.

STEAMED PERSIMMON PUDDING

2 cups sifted flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ripe persimmons

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/3 cup oil

3 tablespoons milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup raisins or sliced dates

Brandy Sauce

Place trivet in large kettle and pour in enough water to cover trivet. Bring to boil while mixing pudding.

Sift together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Wash and peel persimmons, removing seeds if necessary. Place fruit in blender and blend until smooth (should measure 1 1/2 cups).

Add soda and blend. Then add oil, milk, egg and vanilla and blend until smooth. Make well in dry ingredients and pour in persimmon mixture. Stir until well mixed, then stir in raisins.

Turn batter into well-greased 1 1/2-quart mold. Cover with foil and place on trivet in kettle. Cover kettle and steam pudding 2 hours, adding boiling water as necessary to keep trivet covered. Serve warm with Brandy Sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Brandy Sauce

1 egg

1/4 cup soft butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Brandy

Combine egg, butter, sugar and 2 tablespoons brandy in blender. Blend until creamy, adding additional brandy if needed.

STEAMED MIXED FRUIT PUDDING

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup orange juice or brandy

2 cups soft bread crumbs (about 3 slices bread)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup chopped citron

1/2 cup chopped apple

Orange Hard Sauce

Cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar until light. Add beaten egg yolks and grated lemon and orange peel. Then add lemon and orange juices, crumbs, soda and flour.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually and continue beating to a stiff meringue. Fold into butter mixture. Stir in raisins, currants, citron and apple. Turn into buttered 1 1/2-quart mold. Cover tightly.

Place on wire rack or trivet in steamer or large pan with boiling water halfway up mold. Cover and steam 3 hours, adding water as necessary.

Remove mold and allow to stand uncovered about 10 minutes. Loosen sides and turn onto warm serving platter. Serve warm with Orange Hard Sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Orange Hard Sauce

1/3 cup soft butter or margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

2 teaspoons orange juice

Combine butter, sugar, orange peel and juice. Beat until fluffy. Chill.

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