I mentioned in my last post that we were invited to dinner and I had offered to bring dessert. I got a little side tracked with my Halloween treats and never did discuss the dessert we adults indulged in.
Our friends had lived in London, England for over 20 years and we were being honoured with a British sup. Yup! With Yorkshire pudding too, which I was very excited about as I’d never had but always wanted to try. To complement the scrumptious meal I was sure we would have – oh, did we ever – (The Yorkshire puddings were so good! After I was done with my meal, I just couldn’t resist another piece of that pudding and dunked it in the gravy. Oh man, it was good!) – I decided to make an English pudding. Steamed pudding. As in Caramel Apple Steamed Pudding.
Although I’ve had a metal pudding mold for about 15 years, I had never made one. Not long after Peter and I were married, we were in a fabulous kitchen store in Ottawa and I had come across these pudding molds. I thought they were very cute, with their lids and all. Brilliant! I was going to make figgy pudding – you know, like in the Christmas song. I’d never had figgy pudding but I liked the idea of making a very traditional English Christmas dessert.
Just a few months ago as I was reorganizing my kitchen “stuff”, Peter noticed my pudding mold and said, “You still have this. I guess you’re gonna toss it.” Toss it? Was he kidding? I couldn’t fathom tossing a cooking gadget that I was sure to need one day! Well my friends, that day had come! Oh joy! I was going to use that pudding mold. (I hate to say I told you so Peter.) Only thing is, my pudding mold has this tube in the middle, like a tube pan. Oh well, now I need to get one without!
Thanks to Martha Stewart, I found this fabulous recipe.
I started with the apples. The original recipe calls for 4 Granny Smith apples but I used a combination of McIntoch, Cortland and Spartan apples. At least that’s what I think… they were from our apple picking venture and were all mixed together (yes, still got some of them apples). 4 apples for all those steps and steaming the pudding for almost 2 hours? I used 6 apples, just to make sure all that work was going to result in my pudding tasting of apples. I peeled, cored and cut the apples into 1 inch chunks.
I placed 1/2 the apples in a saucepan and added : 2 tbsp of water, 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and ginger and 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and cloves. I placed the pan over low heat and cooked the apples, covered, for about 12 minutes, until they started falling apart. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then. Set aside. This is the applesauce.
Next I made the apples that would sit on top of my pudding. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in pan and add remaining apples with 1 tbsp of sugar. Cook over medium-high for 5 minutes, until apples have browned. Put aside.
Now that caramel. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of water into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, cover until sugar melts, 2 or 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until the sugar turns a deep amber colour.
Carefully pour the caramel into the mold, tipping it and swirling it around so that the caramel coats the sides of the mold. Words of caution… wear oven mitts or hold that metal mold with something other than your bare hands. I seem to remember, a little too late, my kid’s science lessons and how metal was a great conductor of heat!
I added those apple chunks to the bottom of the mold.
I took my stock pot and added water and placed a folded dish towel on the bottom. This allows space between the pudding mold and the direct heat from the burner. You need about 2 inches of space all around the mold and enough water that it will go 1/2 way up the sides. I brought the water to a boil and then just lowered it to a simmer and kept it going until my pudding was ready. As I awaited for the water, I proceeded to the the cake part of the pudding.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, you can also use a hand-held mixer, cream together 8 tbsp of butter and 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar. Add 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of molasses and mix well. Now you can add that applesauce that’s been sitting around, waiting…and mix well. Then I added 1 1/4 cups of unbleached flour, 2 1/4 tsp of baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of bread crumbs – I used panko because that’s what I had. Stir until just combined. Add to the pudding mold and clamp on the lid.
Now it’s ready to go into that simmering water. Add lid over the pot and simmer for 1 hour and 40 minutes, checking every now and then to ensure the water is at a steady, low simmer.
Remove from water and if you like, you could check for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s done. I clamped the lid back onto the mold and just let it sit until it was time for dessert. I carried it over to our friend’s place in the mold – I think she was quite impressed. I ran a butter knife around the sides of the mold, turned it upside down onto a dish and voila! Isn’t it gorgeous?
But how did it taste, you wonder? Oh my word… it was light and moist and caramelly and… a taste of apples in every bite!