Steamed pudding is an English tradition that's been passed down through generations and eventually made its way across "the pond." Traditionally, it's served with a hard sauce (a creamy mixture laced with brandy or whiskey), but whipped cream is a perfect substitute. We've varied the English recipe, which uses dried fruits and specially designed molds, and used packed pumpkin and mini-bundt pans instead, for an American feel. Here's how to create and serve this truly dramatic dessert.
Heat first three ingredients:
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried currants
1/2 cup amaretto, warmed (coffee syrup)
1 can (15-ounce) solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, allspice, and salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare batter according to the recipe for Pumpkin-Apricot Pudding, above. Grease a heatprooof pudding mold or six mini-bundt pans. Pour batter into molds. Place on rack set in roasting pan.
Step 2: Place pan in oven. Pour boiling water into pan until molds are covered two-thirds of the way. Cover with foil. Steam for 1-1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in pudding comes out clean. Cool on wire rack; invert onto serving plates.
Grand lighting: The beauty of steamed pudding comes just before you serve it-- with an impressive flambe' presentation your guest will remember for years to come.
Here's how to do it:
Microwave 1/4 cup whiskey or brandy on High for 30 seconds; spoon over each pudding. Set the puddings out on the dining table, then ignite each with a match. The flames will last only a moment, but the effect is well worth the effort. Once the flame has gone out, top with whipped cream.
Work time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours