Mrs Beeton suggests…

Steamed puddings; Isabella Beeton suggests that they are “seasonable-suitable for winter puddings when fresh fruit is unavailable.”

It’s February, miserably cold, damp, and grey.  The only fresh fruit worth buying are apples from cold storage which are decent, but expensive. The sad alternative is fruit that has traveled thousands of miles to arrive at my local grocery store, colouful and alluring, but tasting of disappointment and regret.

So why don’t we make steamed puddings anymore?

Many people have heard of them but few have tried them. There’s a misconception that steamed puddings are “heavy” or “stodgy.” They’re not. Cheesecake is heavy.

Steamed puddings are easy to make, but they require time on the stove and someone to check them every once in a while. And they require a few “special” pieces of equipment; a heat proof bowl and a covered saucepan.

They’re not sexy, and hard to dress up for pictures. And while not exciting, they are dependable, comforting and best served warm.

In Canada right now, we are wrapped in comfortable sweaters with slippers on our feet, waiting for spring, to bust out the shorts and sandals, but in the meantime, a hot from the oven steamed pudding is perfect for dessert on a cold, dark February evening.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding from Margo Oliver’s Weekend Magazine Cook Book

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tsp. soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup whole fresh (or frozen) cranberries

Combine molasses, boiling water and soda. Stir to blend and let cool to lukewarm.

 Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into cooled mixture. Stir to blend. Stir in cranberries.

Put in 1-qt. greased mold (heat proof bowl). Cover loosely with foil. Steam for 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot with butter sauce. (Check every thirty minutes to make sure the water hasn’t boiled away. I served mine with custard sauce)

Butter Sauce– Margo Oliver

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light cream

1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer fifteen minutes. Serve hot over Steamed Cranberry Pudding.

Serves 6 to 8

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