Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2000

Visions of sugarplums

Tasty pudding fast and easy to prepare

December 7, 2000

If you're looking to start a Christmas Eve tradition in your family, or simply want to serve a memorable holiday dessert, here it is.

Children are particularly taken with this pudding, which really does make "visions of sugarplums dance in their heads."

It's easy to prepare. If you want to serve it hot, it can go into the oven right before the Christmas Eve dinner.

While someone else clears the table, you can make the glaze.

If you're uncomfortable with an arrangement that tightly choreographed, go ahead and make the pudding in advance and serve it cool.

You can still prepare the glaze at the end of you meal and pour it hot over the pudding.

The other thing that's nice about this dessert is that it can be ignited without the rum or other alcohol used in a traditional flambe.

For a full effect, you'll want to dim the lights before you carry the dessert to the table.

The recipe is from "A Kansas City Christmas Cookbook" by Karen Conde Adler and Jane Doyle Guthrie (Two Lane Press).

Sugarplum Pudding
2 cups sifted flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup prune puree (or baby food)

Glaze
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
sugar cubes
orange or lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-by-12 inch baking dish.

Sift dry ingredients together, then stir in remaining ingredients in given order. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

While pudding bakes, combine glaze ingredients and bring to a boil.

Pour over pudding in pan while hot.

(Note: This can also be baked ahead in a traditional pudding mold. You would have to adjust the baking time to suit the size of the mold. The hot glaze can then be poured over the pudding.)

To serve, soak sugar cubes in extract and place them on small pieces of aluminum foil, either around individual servings of pudding or the molded pudding. Ignite the cubes and carry the dessert to the table.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

When she's not writing about foods and gardening, Gwyn Mellinger is teaching journalism at Baker University. You can send e-mail to her at mellinger@harvey.bakeru.edu. Her phone number is (785) 594-4554.

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