Sunday, January 19, 2014

Downton Abbey and Cherry Bakewell Pudding

Sundays have become a feast for the palate and a feast for the eyes!  I love, love, love Downton Abbey!!  Okay, so last week's episode was a bit difficult to endure but I am quite certain Anna will rise like a phoenix... after a few more bumps along the way.

Tonight, I made my first REAL steamed pudding.  I have never been tempted to try a British pudding.  I mean, why?  It always sounded just awful, at least to me. Despite my thinking, the images on this site were enough to entice me into giving it a go myself. 

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Let me first say, I have been so very wrong.  The Cherry Bakewell Pudding was, well, WHOA!  It wasn't just Mrs. Hughes' tough talk that had me captivated.  This thing was soo easy to prepare and soo worth it!!  Don't believe me?  Let's discover this together, shall we?

Cherry Bakewell Pudding


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened - plus more for greasing the dish
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/8 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup self rising flour
14 Tbsp finely ground almonds
2 Tbsp milk
3 generous tablespoons of cherry preserves

5 ounces milk
8 ounces heavy cream
1/4 cup fine sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed)

Butter a metal or glass dish with a 1 1/2 pint capacity.  Set aside.  Lightly spray a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Add water into a large stockpot.  Since I was unsure how my glass Pyrex bowl would do in boiling water, I placed a large ring cookie cutter on the bottom of the pot and made certain the water came up no more than halfway up the bowl.  Begin to heat the water to boiling.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Slowly add the eggs, beating until well incorporated.  Add the almond extract and milk.  Gently fold in the flour and ground almonds.

Spoon the preserves in the bottom of the buttered dish.

Pour the batter on top and smooth.  Cover the pudding with the foil and secure with baker's twine.  Place into the stockpot of boiling water.

Cover and steam the pudding for 1 1/2 hours, checking regularly to be certain the pot of water does not go dry.  Add additional water as needed.

In the last 20 minutes of steaming, begin preparing the sauce.  In a saucepan, add milk, cream and one teaspoon of the sugar.  Bring to a gentle simmer and turn the heat down to low.  In a heat proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until light.  While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the hot milk mixture.

Continue until all of the milk is mixed in with the sugar and egg yolks.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour the mixture back into the saucepan.  Add the vanilla bean paste and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken a bit.  The sauce is ready when it can coat the back of a metal spoon.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer once more and keep warm until serving.

Test the pudding for doneness by lifting the foil and inserting a skewer into the center of the pudding.  If purely batter, leave in for longer.  If it comes out with sticky crumbs, turn off the heat and carefully lift the bowl from the pot.  Place onto a dinner plate.  Remove the twine and foil.

Place another dinner plate on the top.  Flip the pudding over and gently lift the bowl from the pudding.  The pudding should release freely from the bowl.

Slice the warm pudding and place into a shallow bowl.  Drizzle with the warm sauce.

Enjoy with your favorite tea or coffee!  (Serves 4 -- if doubling the recipe, extend cooking time.)
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This pudding is absolutely divine!  It smelled heavenly.  Come to think of it, I think angels sang when I released it from the bowl.  I will definitely try this again for a special event.  It would be a beautiful dessert for Christmas or even Valentine's Day.  My advice though, is to make sure those almonds are as finely ground as you can get them, especially if you aren't fond of nuts in your baked goods.

So, let's talk a little Downton Abbey... shall we?  What did you think of Lord Gillingham's bold proposal?  Yikes!!  I thought it was rather soon... and way too forward.  And I thought the English had manners!!  I was overjoyed to see Tom's stalker get the boot.  I didn't even mind Thomas' snippy comment to her.  Ha!  As expected, our dear Anna is stewing in the horror of last week's event but she will see better days soon... I hope.

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