Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pastor taught me: Clootie Pudding (Scotland edition)

Meet the pudding that changed the game. Let me get straight to it. It is comprised of your usual ingredients:flour, butter, eggs, dried fruits and nuts and spices. However, the major and most important difference is that it doesn't go into an oven, it goes into a pot of boiling water. It's one thing to go to church and receive a life-changing word from God but a life-changing cake, it was like manna falling out of the sky.

I won't get into much background today simply because I don't think I am qualified to. The most I know is the name and origin as seen in the title. Anything I could possibly share with you will be stripped from Wikipedia and well, that just isn't fair.

First introduction

Thank you Pastor!
The recipe is open to interpretation. In fact when my friends and I made this during our International Bake Date  the similarities to the first were the texture and the delicious taste.  What we proved is the versatility of the particular recipe. So as I always encourage you, experiment with whatever you find in your cupboards.

Clootie Pudding

Ingredients as originally copied
2 cups flour
1/2 cup or 125g butter
4 eggs
2 cups dried raisins, sultans
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tsp orange peel dried and ground
1 tsp ginger (awesome flavour combo, don't you think?)
extra flour

Ingredients as adapted
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder (not necessary)
125g butter
1/2 cup white sugar (because we used less fruit and a tangy one at that)
4 eggs
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup coconut (Cuz we love da coco)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ginger (we were heavy on the spices, feel free not to if it's not your thing)
extra flour
cheesecloth & string
pot of boiling water

1. Since we were eyeballing a lot of things here, we followed baking 101: mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs, one by one, without over mixing, followed by vanilla.

2. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture. Add in dried fruits, nuts, coconut. At this time you want to define your flavour and consistency. Play with spices. If your mix is too runny, thicken it up with some flour.  If it's already thick, that's a good thing.

3. On an open cheesecloth, generously sprinkle flour, concentrating on the center. This is the outer coating of the cake that allows it to 'cook' while in boiling water so don't be frugal with this step.

4. Pour batter into cheesecloth, focusing on the flour-covered area.

Note the tight batter texture
Then quickly pull the corners to the center (you may need extra hands) and quickly tie close with string.

5. Transfer the ball of batter to the pot of boiling water and slowing place inside. Make sure that it is completely submerged but that your water level isn't too high to spill out the pot.

6. Boiling can go from at least 2 to 4 hours. There is no over cooking to worry about here. Observe the cake. The more it floats, the closer it is to being ready. You may need to replace water so ensure that it is hot when you do so. As to how to do you know for sure it's ready, I really can't tell you. We opened ours after two hours, and put it back for another 2 hours. Unlike reopening an oven, the pudding is unaffected. There is no way to mess this up.

7. Remove from the pot and allow your cake to cool. Unwrap and cut and share with all the patient tummies. The excess flour will now be a thick skin around the cake.

You can eat it or just as easily peel it off. All up to you.

8. Schedule how soon you will make this again. And what new flavours you want to try. Brandy, minced fruit. What's on your mind? Side note: we really regretted not having any dried orange peel on hand.