You might think that after my last experiment with a recipe found in an old church magazine – an unfortunate incident necessitating a moon-suited HazMat crew to dispose of leftovers – I would have learned my lesson. But indeed, I have not. The nightmares faded. I was tempted by an empty stomach and the siren call of the unknown, and yea, verily, I did fall.
The December 1966 issue of the Improvement Era era offers a collection of holiday recipes, and this one – Cranberry Pudding – caught my eye. I like fresh cranberries. I had a few packages in the freezer where I had stashed them after buying an abundance during the few holiday weeks when they are available in the grocery store.
If by “pudding” you can imagine only the milky Jell-o Instant variety, you owe it to your adult self to try a real pudding, a bread- or cake-like base drizzled artfully with a sweet sauce – something like the traditional boiled Christmas plum pudding, or my great-grandmother’s carrot pudding (made chiefly of grated potatoes and carrots; when steamed its vegetal origin vanishes into a lacy spun sugar) or my mother’s New Friends pudding (an easy treat that magically produces its own caramel sauce as it bakes).
Or this Cranberry Pudding.
1-1/2 tblsp. butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh cranberries, cleaned
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add the milk and dry ingredients; fold in the cranberries. Spoon into ten muffin cups and bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
1/2 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream (I used the leftover evaporated milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together and cook in top of double boiler until slightly thickened. Serve piping hot.
This was easy and quick to put together. A great deal of its flavor comes from the butter, so you’ll want to use real butter in both pudding and sauce – no margarine (or — shudder — butter-flavored shortening)substitution. I did substitute the remainder of the can of evaporated milk for the cream in the sauce, with no loss of quality or flavor I think.
The amounts are so small that rather than lose all the butter and sugar to coat the electric beaters, I creamed those ingredients by mashing repeatedly with a fork.
The quantity of 10 puddings was a little odd. I think that if I were to use this recipe regularly, I would tinker a bit to increase the amount to a standard 12. If you make it as 10, remember to half-fill the empty cups with water so that there is no danger of warping your muffin pans.
The half pound of butter in the sauce may seem extravagant, but that’s the only excessive ingredient. The puddings themselves are not at all sweet – I tried one without sauce, and the tart berries combined with such a tiny amount of sugar (1/10 of 1/2 of a cup) made that a less than typically dessert-y experience: you won’t want to use these puddings as muffins. They need the richness of the sauce, which had a very nice flavor and creamy texture – what’s not to like in a combination of butter, sugar, and cream?
The individual pudding portions are quite small by today’s standards – quite normal by 1966 standards. That’s another point in its favor if you are debating the caloric content of that rich sauce.
Verdict: Fair. I might make this pudding again. But I vastly prefer my great-grandmother’s carrot pudding and my mother’s New Friends pudding – recipes available if anybody wants ’em.
[Now see here: If you tuned in hoping for a food review to trigger your latent bulemia, see Mormon Mommy Wars instead.]