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Individual Steamed Cranberry Puddings


2 1/4 cups fresh (or frozen, partially thawed) cranberries, picked over, washed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/3 cup whole or low-fat milk
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (orange part of skin)
3 tablespoons light molasses
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Creamy Butter-Rum (or Butter-Orange) Sauce:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons light or dark rum (or orange juice, for an alcohol-free Butter-Orange Sauce)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Generous 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (orange part of skin)


Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees F. Put a low wire rack in a broiler pan or roasting pan large enough to hold the muffin pan or individual molds. Put the pan on the middle rack. Fill the pan 3/4 inch deep with boiling hot water. Very generously coat 6 metal or heat-proof glass mini-Bundt-style molds, jumbo-size muffin tin cups, or custard cups with nonstick spray (or butter them well).

In a medium, non-reactive bowl, stir together the cranberries and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar; set aside while the remaining ingredients are readied. Thoroughly stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, orange zest, molasses, and remaining 5 tablespoons sugar until well blended and the sugar dissolves. Add the butter and the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until evenly incorporated. Stir in the cranberries until evenly distributed throughout. Divide the batter evenly among the molds or cups, spreading to the edges.

When the water in the broiler pan is gently simmering, set the molds, cups or muffin tin on the rack in the pan. Tent the broiler pan with aluminum foil. Steam the puddings 35 to 40 minutes, until they feel firm when pressed and a wooden skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean. Turn off the oven. Let the puddings stand 20 to 30 minutes more, or until cooled to warm. Using pot holders, remove them to a cooling rack. (Let the roasting pan cool completely before removing it.)

As soon as the molds or muffin tins cups are cool enough to handle, run a knife around the puddings to loosen them. Invert them out onto a platter or board. Plate and serve immediately, or tent with foil and hold at room temperature up to 24 hours. Reheat to slightly warm in a low oven before serving. Alternatively, cover with plastic and refrigerate the puddings for up to a week; reheat to warm before serving.

Using a wide spatula, transfer the puddings to individual serving plates. (If necessary, trim the bottoms so they will rest flat on the plates.) Drizzle each with a little sauce. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.

For the sauce:
In a non-reactive 2-quart, heavy saucepan, thoroughly stir together the sugar, cream, butter, rum (or orange juice), corn syrup, and orange zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar completely dissolves and the butter melts. Bring to a boil and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a week. Reheat in a nonreactive saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, (or in a microwave oven on 50 percent power) until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm and fluid again.

Tip: To avoid any risk from the hot water in the steaming pan, lift out the puddings, then let the pan cool completely before removing it from the oven.

Makes 6 individual puddings.