Cranberry Steamed Pudding

In the Lowry family, plum duff is the traditional holiday pudding.  My husband, Phil, usually makes it once a year in a mold with clamps that was passed down from his mother.  Somehow that mold is now lost, and the new one lacks clamps.  This was disconcerting to Phil, so much so that he thought it not suitable to make Plum Duff in.

Finding this recipe in the paper prompted him to take a closer look at the new pudding mold.  Why yes, it is watertight, even without clamps!  He decided to take a chance on the new recipe and we all enjoyed it. Steaming the fruity mixture turns it into a moist and flavorful cake-like substance.  The pudding itself is not too sweet, so a bit of hard sauce is welcome.

Cranberry Steamed Pudding
Serves 10-12
From Judith Guest in the Star Tribune

for the pudding:
2 c. cranberries, washed and wet
1 1/2 c. flour, divided (use Cup4Cup for a gluten-free version)
1 tsp. (scant) baking powder
1/2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. light molasses in a 2-cup glass measuring cup
2 tbsp. (scant) baking soda
lard or coconut oil
Grease steamer generously with lard or coconut oil.

Rinse the cranberries and add to a large bowl. Sift 1/2 cup flour and baking powder over berries to coat well.

Add 1/2 cup boiling water to the molasses in the glass measuring cup. Add the baking soda and stir. It will foam like crazy. Measure 1 cup flour into a medium mixing bowl.  Pour the molasses mixture slowly into the flour and mix well.

Combine molasses mixture with cranberry mixture, stirring to make sure all berries are coated and are no longer white with flour.

Transfer batter to the steamer mold and fasten lid firmly. Place it on a trivet in a larger pot with enough boiling water (1 or 2 cups) to come to level of the bottom of the steamer. Steam for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, checking it periodically and adding boiling water as necessary to keep it steaming.

Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, then loosen outer edge and unmold. This can be made days ahead. Let cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

for the hard sauce:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. cream
2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in double boiler or over low heat; add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add cream and vanilla, stirring well. Steam or heat for an hour or so, until it is translucent and sugar is well dissolved--take care not to boil. Serve warm in a pitcher or bowl and pour over pudding.