A Christmas Carol: Christmas Pudding

A common Victorian holiday dessert, blazing Christmas pudding was the much-anticipated finale at the Cratchits’ Christmas feast. We don’t recommend that you set our modern-day version on fire, but this raisin pudding is delicious nonetheless

Golden raisins or dried cherries may be used instead of raisins. If available, you can use blackstrap molasses, a surprising source of iron, to add rich color and flavor. Coating both the dish and the plastic wrap with cooking spray helps you remove the pudding after it’s cooked.

Yield
10 servings (serving size: 1 slice pudding and 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

Pudding:

Cooking spray
1/3 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup raisins

Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 large egg yolk
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly coat a 2 1/2-quart oven-safe bowl with cooking spray; line with
plastic wrap. Lightly coat the surface of wrap with cooking spray. Set
aside.

Spoon applesauce onto several layers of paper towels; spread to 1/2-inch
thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Scrape
into a small bowl using a rubber spatula.

Beat 3 tablespoons butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes
or until fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a
knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture, 1 1/4 cups
milk, and molasses to the butter, beating until blended. Stir in applesauce
and raisins. Spoon mixture into prepared bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Place bowl in a deep roasting pan. Add hot water to pan until water is
one-third way up the sides of bowl. Tightly cover bowl and pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 2 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove bowl from roasting pan. Carefully invert bowl onto a serving plate; remove bowl. Remove and discard plastic wrap.

To prepare sauce, combine 3/4 cup sugar and next 6 ingredients (through
salt) in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a
whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, 4 minutes or until thickened.
Remove from heat. Stir in rind and vanilla. Let stand at least 5 minutes
before serving.