Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apple-Cranberry Pudding

I'm not sure why this dessert is called a "pudding" and put in the pudding section of Maida's book. To me, it's a cobbler pure and simple. But hey, who am I to complain? This section of the book has had its share of brilliant successes and dismal failures, so it was nice to end it with something everyone liked.

This is a great recipe for a midwinter, mid-week dessert. You start by digging a bag of precious cranberries out of the freezer and supplementing them with chopped apples, equally precious chopped pecans, and sugar.

Then you take 5 minutes to mix together some melted butter (I bet that if you took an extra 5 minutes to brown the butter, that would taste dynamite), eggs, sugar, and flour and pour that on top.

Finally, you give this concoction some time in the oven while you tend to dinner. By the time you've finished dinner, dessert is ready!

The cranberries put the dessert over into the tart side, even though the topping is as sweet and buttery as you could ask, so you'll want to serve this with something sweet and creamy: I chose sweetened crème fraîche, but vanilla ice cream would also be a very good choice.
According to the rest of my family, this also made a very good breakfast the next morning ("It's fruit! It's healthy!"). Maybe with a scoop of Greek yogurt to feel virtuous about the whole thing?

Here's the recipe.

Apple-Cranberry Pudding

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 large cooking apples--Maida recommends Granny Smith or Jonathan. I used 4 small Elstar apples.
1/2 c. (2 oz.) chopped toasted pecans
1/2 c. (3/5 oz.) sugar--raw sugar might be a good choice here

Heat the oven to 325. Butter a shallow casserole or baking dish--Maida suggests an 11x8-inch dish if you have one. Rinse and pick over the cranberries. Peel, core, and cut the apples into chunks. Mix the cranberries, apples, pecans, and sugar in the casserole dish. Set aside while you make the topping.

3/4 c. (6 oz.) butter
1 c. (7 oz.) sugar
1/2 t. vanilla--not in the original recipe, but I like vanilla in batters like this
2 large eggs
1 c. (5 oz.) flour--I used about 2 oz. whole wheat pastry flour (110)

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter (or melt/brown it in a small saucepan over medium heat). Add the sugar, then the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, and finally the flour. It's like making blondies!
Spread this mixture over the cranberries and apples. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the top is golden and the  filling is bubbling at the edges. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or your favorite sweet creamy topping. This should serve about 8.

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