Soused Raisin Pudding

By • February 22, 2011 5 Comments

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Author Notes: If you like Scotch, you’ll love this pudding. This really tastes best if you infuse the Scotch starting the night before you make the dessert, but if you can't do it until an hour or so beforehand, that's okay, too. If you wanted, you could use instead half Drambuie and half Scotch, but you’ll miss some of the bright flavors that the infusing ingredients add to this. See the notes below for further thoughts on the Scotch. Enjoy!!AntoniaJames

Serves 4

The Pudding

  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup Infused Scotch (see recipe below)
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds (measured after grinding)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Topping (Optional):
  • ¼ cup mascarpone or whipped cream (measured after whipping)
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of infused Scotch (or more, to taste, if you have it)

The Infused Scotch

  • 2/3 cups Scotch
  • 3 two-inch strips lemon peel (yellow outer skin only)
  • 2 three-inch strips of orange peel
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon lightly crushed coriander seeds
  1. INFUSE THE SCOTCH: The day or night before, put the citrus peel in a heavy saucepan. Using the sharp tip of a dessert spoon, muddle the peel to release its flavorful oils. Add the Scotch and all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  2. Turn off the heat immediately and allow it to sit until ready to use.
  3. Before making the pudding, strain the infusion, reserving a few pieces of orange and lemon peel. If making a topping for the pudding, finely chop about a teaspoon of the infused zest.
  4. THE PUDDING: Measure ½ cup of the infused Scotch and warm gently with the raisins. Allow the raisins to plump up. (I do this in a microwave, in a glass measuring cup.)
  5. Sift together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Then stir in the coriander. Add ¼ cup of cold milk and whisk until there are no lumps.
  6. Scald the remaining milk.
  7. Beat the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler, off the heat.
  8. Very slowly, a few drops at a time, add the hot milk, stirring briskly as you do. Once you’ve added about ½ cup of the milk, you can add all of the rest at once.
  9. Strain through a fine sieve, then return the mixture to the top part of the double boiler, but still off the heat.
  10. But three or four inches of water in the bottom pan of your double boiler and turn the heat on medium. Strain the raisins from the infused Scotch, pressing down gently on them. Reserve the liquid.
  11. When the water starts to simmer, set the top insert of the double boiler over it, making sure that the hot water does not touch the bottom of the top insert. Very gently stir the pudding with a wooden spoon for about a minute.
  12. Add the sugar, cornstarch and cold milk mixture, stirring continuously and gently. (According to Anne Mendelssohn in her interesting book entitled, “Milk: the surprising story of milk through the ages,” vigorous stirring of puddings while they’re cooking can break the starch links that form to thicken the pudding.)
  13. Add the infused Scotch and stir it into the pudding, gently.
  14. Add the vanilla extract and gently stir until the pudding is thick, about 7 or 8 minutes all told.
  15. Remove the pudding from the heat. Pour it carefully into a cold bowl avoiding any hard bits that have formed around the sides of the top insert. Stir for a few more minutes, gently.
  16. Once it is cool, press the pudding through a strainer, if you like, to remove any lumps. (When it’s “just us,” i.e., not a party, I skip this step.)
  17. Add the soaked raisins and stir to combine.
  18. Before serving, cream the remaining infused Scotch with the mascarpone or whipped cream – I do this with the back of a spoon in a small bowl -- and put a good dollop on each dish of pudding. Top with the chopped Scotch-flavored citrus peel.
  19. Enjoy!! ;o)
  20. N.B. These raisins are also good in rice pudding and quick breads. And the infused Scotch simply transforms dried figs into a gooey, sweet and boozy treat. (Soak them first in a bit of warm water.) If you don't care much for Scotch, the same flavor combination works very nicely with bourbon or rum. ;o)
  21. N.B. The basic proportions and general order of operations are the ones I’ve used my entire adult life, taken from "The Joy of Cooking." (I have the 1943 version. I suspect that later versions are similar.) The method of stirring some cold liquid into the cornstarch mixture, and the admonition to stir very gently, I learned from a book I stumbled on at the library some time ago, called “Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages.” According to its author, Anne Mendelson, vigorous stirring while cooking a pudding can break the starch links that form to thicken it. ;o)

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