I was first introduced to this traditional Christmas dessert at a craft show where I sampled Cranberry Creek Baking Co.‘s cranberry pudding. I immediately fell in love with it, because it is dense, moist, slightly chewy, and almost savoury. The tartness of the cranberries in the pudding, which is more cake-like in texture, is contrasted nicely with the sweet and warm butter sauce. Also, I like that this dessert uses molasses instead of more processed sugars. Since this dessert is steamed, it was perfect for our Christmas meal in 2013 when our oven was broken.
Steamed Cranberry Pudding Recipe
adapted from here
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher sea salt
1/2 cup molasses (Note: You can use light or dark molasses, depending on how dark you want the colour of your pudding to be. I used light molasses.)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups fresh cranberries
vanilla butter sauce (see below)
Rinse the cranberries under cool running water and discard any that are wrinkled or soft. Drain and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. In a large heat proof bowl, stir together the hot water, molasses, and salt. Then stir in the flour and baking soda until well combined. Stir in the cranberries until evenly distributed.
Using vegetable oil cooking spray, grease a 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan or a pie plate (I used a glass pie plate). Set up a double boiler or steaming equipment (see here for How to Steam Cook Food). I used a rack in a wok. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, place the pudding into the steamer. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Steam until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or, preferably, with a few crumbs still attached to it. When the pudding is done, it will be sticky, not wet. This will take between 15 minutes and 1 hour, depending on how thick your pudding is and on how hot your water is. Meanwhile, prepare the warm vanilla butter sauce (see below). The sauce can be made days in advance and simply reheated prior to serving.
Once the pudding is done, transfer it to a wire rack to cool slightly as you warm up the sauce. Cut the pudding into squares or slices and plate them onto individual serving plates. Pour the warm vanilla butter sauce around the pudding slices. Serve and enjoy immediately. This steamed cranberry pudding is freezer friendly, as long as it is very well wrapped and sealed. Simply defrost and then reheat in the steamer.
Vanilla Butter Sauce Recipe
This sauce can be made days in advance; adapted from Cranberry Creek Baking Co.
1/2 cup salted butter (or use 1/2 cup unsalted butter and add a pinch of coarse Kosher sea salt)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar (Note: This sauce is meant to be very sweet in order to contrast the tart cranberry pudding. The original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but personally, I prefer a sauce that is slightly less sweet than originally intended. Also keep in mind that if you are planning on omitting the whipping cream, you will need to reduce the sugar as well.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or evaporated milk (Note: If you prefer, you can omit this entirely.)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Note: Use less if you are not using whipping cream, use more if you are.)
In a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in the vanilla extract and whipping cream if using. Once the sauce is hot, remove it from the heat and serve. Leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator once it has cooled completely. Simply reheat and stir prior to serving.