Steamed Apple Pudding With Raisins

For the pastry:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
6 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons water

For the filling:
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup brandy
7 tablespoons sugar
6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into
1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons butter
Zest of one lemon
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Crème anglaise or clotted cream for serving.

To make the dough, place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and pulse until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Add more water a teaspoon at a time if the dough seems too dry.) Divide the dough in half and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, combine the raisins and brandy and set aside. Place the sugar in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until it melts and just begins to turn golden. Add the apple slices and continue to cook, stirring gently, until the apples are softened and caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, zest, cinnamon and allspice. Drain the raisins and add them to the apples.

Place half the dough between two new sheets of plastic wrap and roll out to thickness of 1/4inch. Butter a ceramic pudding basin or deep ovenproof dish. Line the interior of the bowl with the dough and pour the filling over the dough. Roll out the remaining dough and use it to top the filling, trimming away excess and pressing the edges of the dough together to encase the filling.

Wrap the basin in a large kitchen cloth or a triple layer of cheesecloth and tie the top. Place a saucer in the bottom of a large kettle, place the basin on top of the saucer and add enough boiling water to come an inch up the sides of the basin. Cover the kettle and place it over low heat. Simmer for 2 hours, adding more water if needed.

Remove the basin, unwrap it and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it. Then invert the pudding onto a serving dish, slice and serve warm with crème anglaise or clotted cream.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Above is adapted from a recipe in an article on sweet puddings, English style. ( N. Y. Times, fall ’99)


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