Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cabinet Pudding

From above, it looks like one big cookie.  This English pudding (steamed cake) is actually made from sponge cake and almond cookie bits, layered in a quart bowl, drenched in spiced custard and cooked in a water bath for about two hours.  If you already have some sponge cake and almond cookies lying around, it's impossibly easy to put together.  Unfortunately I chose to make the components from scratch and, while utterly delicious, it took all day and I ended up on a sugar high.  I just have to taste everything when it comes out of the oven.
The odd thing about this recipe is that while it only calls for one teaspoon of a special pudding spice mix (cardamom, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), it supplies instructions to make one half-cup.  I cut the recipe down by about one-sixth and still have extra.  I think it will go delightfully in pumpkin pie.
This tastes like the best bread pudding I can remember.  It is smooth and rich with warm, sweet spices that I think would go better in the fall.  It isn't dense or rubbery like the canary pudding, or dry like the chocolate bread-crumb pudding.  The chopped almonds and plump, sweet-tart raisins provide a textural contrast to the soft sponge cake.  Unlike revenge, this one is best served warm with a glorious dollop of double cream or custard sauce.

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