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Steamed Apple Date Pudding

Ingredients:

1 egg

¼ cup of brown sugar

½ cup of maple syrup

½ cup of milk

1½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

¼ cup of cold butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup of chopped dates

1½ cups of peeled apples, chopped

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg, and add the sugar, maple syrup, and milk. In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt, soda, and spices together. Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture, and beat well. Stir in the butter pieces, dates, and apples.

Pour the batter into a well-greased mould or heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with greased foil, parchment paper, or pudding mould lid. Tie the cover securely with string, or clamp the lid in place. A pyrex bowl, covered in parchment paper that is secured with string would work, if you don't have access to a pudding mould. My grandmother steamed her pudding in glass jars, with wax paper tied over each. This enabled her to, later, reheat smaller portions, at one time. My own mother steamed puddings in coffee tins.   

Gently place the mould on a rack or a metal jar lid, to keep it slightly away from the bottom of the pot. Pour enough water around the pudding to come about two inches up the sides of the pot. Cover the pot and allow the pudding to steam for at least two hours, adding more water as necessary, to maintain the water level. I usually steam this recipe for 2 hours and 15 minutes. This isn’t a precise science. Steamed puddings are very forgiving. Centuries ago, women made steamed puddings over an open fire, and eventually on top of wood stoves. I expect you could steam a pudding on any single source of heat, even a barbeque.

I happen to own a broth pot with a basket inside, and I have collected professional pudding moulds. There is no need for this, but I enjoy serving shaped puddings. To make a pretty pudding without all of the expense, use a metal or glass jelly mould. As long as you tie foil or parchment paper over the top of the pudding, your results will be satisfying. 

After your pudding is cooked, and you have gently lifted it from the pot, remove the lid or parchment paper. Let the pudding cool on the counter for fifteen minutes. Invert the pan, and let the pudding finish cooling. My puddings slide out easily as soon as I invert them. I leave them, exposed to the air, to cool completely.   

Serve the resulting pudding, hot, with your favourite sauce.

The cooled pudding may be wrapped well, in foil, and frozen for later use. To reheat, leave the pudding wrapped in foil, and place it in a 350°F oven for one hour. Or, place the pudding on a rack in a saucepan, pour in two inches of boiling water, cover the pot, and steam for 1 hour. Serve this pudding with your favourite sauce.  

Maureen Haddock's Butter Tart Sauce would be a nice choice.   

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