Monday, October 26, 2009
steamed pudding--isn't it really cake?
I'm thinking that I should rate my desserts by how much whipped cream is required to make them edible, well, not just edible but good enough to eat. Sublime requires no whipped cream, v good can use a spoonful, but doesn't need it, good requires several spoonfuls, but then it's really good, and tolerable really is just a vehicle for the whipped cream.
I followed the recipe the first time. Ginger steamed pudding from a Chris Idone book. Laurie Colwin was right, molasses is too much for the ginger. Mostly tasted like a somewhat too sweet molasses cake. Tolerable and then I ran out of whipped cream.
Next I read about steamed puddings. The older recipes (Mrs. Beeton) call for fine dry bread crumbs, treacle and suet. By the time we get to Fanny Farmer, some of the recipes call for suet and bread crumbs and some go with flour and butter. I read Martha, she likes flour and butter. I tried to make a spread sheet tallying the amounts of dry, fat, liquid, eggs, but are eggs a liquid? Cranberries add moisture, but probably not as much as a grated apple. And then I looked at some cake recipes and wondered if I could just steam a cake (I still think I can) but does a recipe with 2 C of flour fit both my 2 qt pudding mold and my much larger looking bundt pan? The one thing I don't want is pudding exploding all over my kitchen. I'm not the methodical, analytical sister, and none of it was adding up to dessert for me.
Armed with my bewilderment and my Sunday afternoon craving for cake, I tried again. I was done with ginger and went right onto Pumpkin. Martha has a recipe for persimmon pudding which I loosely followed, but I substituted about a cup of pumpkin and added fresh cranberries and pecans. It also had a stick of butter and a cup of heavy cream, which seems unnecessary. It was very good if a little subtly flavored (bland). I am going to try it with milk instead of cream, some fresh grated ginger, more cranberries and an extra half cup of sugar, maybe brown this time.
OK, I tried again. And it went like this:
2 C flour, 1 tsp soda, 1/2 tsp powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp mace, mix together, set aside. Put 1 and 1/4 C pumpkin in a bowl, mix in 4 eggs, then 1 C milk, then 3/4 C white sugar and 1/2 C brn sugar, then 2 TB bourbon, then 1 stick melted butter. Once all that is well combined, add the dry, then fold in 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries and a generous C of chopped pecans. Put it in your buttered pudding mold and steam for 90 minutes.
This one was better, but I prefer the texture of the original ginger pudding and I thought it still lacked a little flavor. Next time, I'll increase the brown sugar to 3/4 C, I'll increase all the spices, maybe add some chopped ginger and I won't add the baking powder in hopes of getting a denser, less cakey crumb.
According to my rating system this is somewhere between good and very good, depending on how much you like this sort of thing.