You can start making your fig and fruit-laden Christmas pudding now, but for Thanksgiving, you might want to try this one where festive cranberries are the centerpiece. Perfect for this holiday, cranberries add a distinctive flavor and color. I like to serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream, but brandy butter is also perfect. You can find this and other holiday recipes in my last cookbook "Christmas Flavors of Ireland" or in "Favorite Flavors of Ireland," due out next week.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 tbsp. molasses
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. brandy or dark rum
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. sultanas (golden raisins)
1. Grease a 6-cup pudding mold or deep, heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, stir together the molasses, sugar, brandy or rum, and oil until blended. Stir in the cranberries, apple, and sultanas. Stir in the flour mixture until blended.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared mold and smooth the top. Cover with a double piece of buttered wax paper and a double piece of aluminum foil. Fold together and make a pleat in the center (to allow for the pudding to expand). Tie the paper and foil in place with kitchen twine.
4. Place the mold in a large saucepan or Dutch oven fitted with a rack, or place a folded kitchen towel on the bottom of the pot to prevent direct contact with the bottom of the pot. Add enough hot water to the pot to come halfway up the sides of the mold or casserole dish. Cover and steam on medium-low heat for 2–2 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Check the water level once or twice during cooking and add more water when necessary.)
5. Carefully remove the pudding mold from the pot. Remove the foil and parchment, and run a metal spatula around the sides to loosen. Place a serving plate over the mold and invert. Slice and serve warm. (If not serving immediately, let the pudding cool, covered, in the mold. When completely cool, unmold, wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Refrigerate the pudding for up to one week or freeze).
6. To serve, put the pudding back into its mold, cover with waxed paper or foil, and steam for one hour, as above, or until heated through. Thaw frozen pudding before reheating as above.
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. brandy
1. In a small bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Add the brandy and beat until smooth.
2. Transfer to a small bowl or crock, cover, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Return to room temperature before serving.