Friday, January 10, 2014

Cranberry & Orange Pudding with Eggnog Custard

These small British-style Cranberry Orange Steamed Puddings accompanied by a rich festive Eggnog Custard are a stylish twist on classic plum pudding, and lighter alternative to most traditional holiday desserts. Light and fluffy, these jewel-toned treats are an easy and delicious dessert anytime of the year. A colourful and fragrant combination of fresh or frozen cranberries, dried cranberries, Grand Marnier and orange rind are mixed together in a small bowl then blended with a mixture of softened butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, egg, vanilla and orange juice. Poured into individual 1-cup greased lined ramekins, then covered and steamed in a water bath for about 45 minutes, the puddings can be served warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream, rich and delicious Eggnog Custard or festive Brandy Butter Sauce.

Butter, sugar, egg and vanilla are whisked together in a small bowl

Orange juice and Grand Marnier are added to the batter

Flour, baking powder and salt are then added

Fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, Grand Marnier and orange rind are added to the mixture

Followed by the ground almonds

The batter is stirred until it's well combined

1-cup ramekins are lightly buttered, sprinkled with white sugar then lined 
with a round of wax paper on the bottom

The cranberry orange batter is spooned into each of the ramekins 
and levelled so the tops are flat

Covered and steamed in a water bath for 45 minutes, the puddings become 
light and fluffy jewel-toned treats

Cranberry-Orange Puddings Dingman
Serves 5

3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, pulsed in a food processor
1/4 cup dried cranberries, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
2 tsp grated orange rind
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup slivered or whole almonds, finely ground 
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Stir together the chopped cranberries, dried cranberries, Grand Marnier and orange rind in a small bowl. Grease four 1-cup ramekins with a little softened butter, then sprinkle the inside of each cup with a little granulated sugar, tipping to coat them evenly with the sugar. Cut 4 rounds of waxed paper, the same size as the bottoms of the ramekins, then place one in each cup; set aside. Cut 4 6-inch pieces of foil, then lightly butter the shiny side of each piece, and set aside.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside. Beat the butter in another bowl until it becomes creamy. Add the sugar, then beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice, making 3 additions of dry to 2 of liquid. Stir in the cranberry mixture and ground almonds, and stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins, dividing them evenly and spreading to keep the tops flat. Cover each ramekin with a piece of foil, buttered side down, tying each in place with a piece of string. Place the ramekins on a wire rack inside of a small roasting pan, then pour enough boiling water inside the pan so it comes 1/2 way up the sides of each ramekin. Cover the pan with a large piece of foil and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the puddings. Remove the ramekins from the pan and let cool 5 minutes. Remove the foil then run a knife around the edge of each cup then upend onto a warm platter, discarding the wax paper. Serve warm with a drizzle of Eggnog Custard, Brandy Butter Sauce or dollop of whipped cream.

Eggnog Custard
Serves 4-6

2 cups 10% cream
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp rum, brandy or Grand Marnier
2 tsp vanilla

Heat cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around edge. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg, then gradually blend in the hot cream. Return to pan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 8 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick enough to coat back of spoon. Strain the sauce into a separate bow, then stir in the rum and vanilla. Serve immediately with the steamed Cranberry Orange Puddings, and garnish with some chopped dried cranberries and a sprig of mint.