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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Steamed Blueberry Pudding




There's nothing as down-home as a Steamed Blueberry Pudding.  People don't make them much anymore.  They seem to be relegated to grandmothers and great-aunts to make the traditional desserts.  So, as a grandmother and great-aunt here's my contribution to the education of the younger generation.  

My mother was a great hand at making steamed puddings.  Growing up we had a variety of them almost weekly during the the year but Steamed Blueberry Pudding would be one of those once-a-year treats we looked forward to only during blueberry season. Frozen food for consumers was in its infancy and for most people the little freezer at the top of the refrigerator was sufficient for a brick of ice cream or any other "exotic" frozen food that might spike one's interest while grocery shopping.  As a child hardly anyone had a freezer to preserve the blueberries so unless your father was a hunter or fisherman your mother used up as many berries as she could making blueberry cakes, muffins and puddings.  Pies could be made all year round because the berries would be made into jam and preserves for winter use.  But for most of us blueberry season was also Blueberry Pudding season as well. 

Of course, fresh  blueberries are now available year-round.  But many home freezers hold the bounties of the land in gallon-sized plastic bags awaiting the cold winter months to break out a taste of summer with the little wild blueberries to be eaten on cereal or baked into goodies, once only made during the summer.   Even though a blueberry pudding can now be made any time of the year it always tastes best made with fresh wild berries still warm from the picking. 

This isn't my mother's recipe.  She would have used a white batter for her pudding but this one is simply excellent.  The brown sugar used in the batter gives a wonderful butterscotch flavour that complements the blueberries wonderfully.  The pudding can be eaten immediately when cooked or can be frozen for another meal.  Thaw the frozen pudding and place in the original mould.  Steam about half an hour and your pudding will just as fresh as the day you made it.  

Steamed Blueberry Pudding
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
½ cup milk
1½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Grease a 2-litre (quart) pudding mould.  A 2-litre heat-proof bowl or casserole dish makes a good substitute.  You may also use two well washed 28 oz. stewed tomato cans.

Prepare a large dutch oven or soup pot with 3 or 4 inches of water.  The pot should be large enough to hold the pudding with enough space for a  pot cover.  Place a trivet on the bottom.  Bring the water to a simmer while preparing pudding batter.  

Remove 1 tablespoon of flour and mix with the fresh berries.  Skip this step if using frozen berries as the flour will clump from the moisture.

Mix remaining flour, baking powder and salt together.  Lay aside. 

Cream butter and brown sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well until light and fluffy.  You may beat the butter mixture with a whisk or use an electric beater.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in blueberries.

Turn batter into prepared mould or bowl.  Cover with wax paper and foil and tie tightly with twine or secure with a sturdy elastic band.  Place the prepared pudding into the pot of simmering water. the water should be hot enough to break bubbles.  Steam 2 to 2½ hours.   Check periodically to make sure there is enough water in the pot.  It should be at least 2 inches deep at all times. Use boiling water to replenish the pot.

When pudding is cooked, carefully remove from water.  Let pudding set  at least 10 minutes. Turn mould or bowl upside down on serving plate.  Cut pudding into wedges and serve hot or warm with a Brown Sugar or Lemon Sauce. 

Makes 8-10 servings.


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Brown Sugar Sauce
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon butter

Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and vanilla.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil.  Lower heat and continue to cook and occasionally stir for 2 minutes.  Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.  Serve with steamed pudding.

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I don't have a pudding mould so I always use some kind of heat proof bowl.  I've had this one almost 40 years and it serves me well for steamed puddings.  Whatever you use, grease it well with butter or pan spray and for added assurance flour the container as well.


Anything that will keep the bowl off the bottom of the pan will work as a trivet.  I've used screw on rings from canning jars.


If using fresh berries, use 1 tablespoon of the measured flour to sprinkle over the blueberries.  It's supposed to keep the berries from sinking to the bottom of the batter during baking.  Mix the remaining flour, baking powder and salt together and lay aside. 


Cream the butter and brown sugar together adding the eggs and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Then add the flour and milk alternately into the batter.  I find using a whisk is just as efficient as an electric mixer for this batter. 


 
Fold in the blueberries.  I'm using fresh berries but this can be made just as successfully with frozen berries.  Frozen berries may leave blue streaks through the batter but this won't affect the quality of the pudding.

Place the batter in the well-greased bowl or mould.  Cover with waxed or parchment paper.  I like to secure the paper with an elastic band and then I bring aluminum foil up around the bowl.  It works well for me.  Place the wrapped pudding in the hot water.  Make sure you have a trivet on the bottom so the bowl won't sit directly on the bottom of the pot.  Cover and steam for 2 to 2½ hours.  My pudding took exactly 2 hours.  Make sure the water is always at a low boil or heavy simmer.  Replenish the water as needed.

When the pudding has finished steaming remove from the pot, carefully avoiding burning yourself on the steam.  Peel back the papers and you'll reveal a tasty treat ready for eating.


 A healthy drizzle of Brown Sugar Sauce.  Where's my spoon?

A taste of summer any time of the year!

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