Cranberry-Molasses Pudding with Vanilla Hard Sauce

By • November 6, 2010 55 Comments

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Author Notes: My former mother-in-law gave me this recipe decades ago; she got it from a friend in Milwaukee who was a fabulous home cook. This pudding is like a tart molasses-and-cranberry sponge which should be served in a bowl, with copious amounts of hard sauce, and eaten with a spoon. It's a holiday favorite at my house for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, and hardly anyone settles for just one serving. - CottageGourmetCottageGourmet

Food52 Review: A true English steamed pudding -- dark, moist and intensely comforting -- CottageGourmet's Thanksgiving dessert suggestion really steps outside of the box. The pudding itself is barely sweet, almost savory in fact, and looks almost black, studded all over with tart, crimson cranberries. The "hard sauce" (which bucks tradition in that it is served warm and liquid) brings the sweetness to the table, soaking every bite of the soft, tender pudding with a rich hit of butter, sugar and cream. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6-8

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (a heaping tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, picked over, washed and drained
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Gently fold together all of the ingredients through the cranberries in the order listed. Pour into a greased mold (I used a Bundt pan), and tightly wrap with several layers of foil so no water sneaks into the pudding.
  2. Put a steamer basket in a large pot and fill the pot with an inch or so of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water is barely simmering. Rest the pudding on top of the steamer basket and cover the pot snugly with a lid. Steam without uncovering the pot for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the pudding is cooked through but not totally dry. (A cake tester should come out sticky, but not wet.)
  3. To make the sauce: combine the half-and-half, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter are melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve the sauce warm over the warm pudding.

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