English Pudding with Cranberries and Walnuts and English Custard Sauce

Sunday December 11, 2016

This is one of my favorite steamed puddings and it couldn’t be easier. The cranberry and molasses combination is a great flavor. This is an Americanized version of the very traditional, very beloved English pudding called Spotted Dick, which originally called for shredded suet and raisins.

I discovered this recipe while researching recipes to run with a story on the food eaten by Harry Potter and his cohorts, in the famous children’s books of the same name, for the newspaper.  It is unusual because there are no eggs or butter in the ingredients and it still makes a remarkably luscious, nicely textured pudding.  It takes literally minutes to stir up in the mixing bowl, spoon into the mold, and off to steaming.

Serve with a package of Bird’s custard sauce made according to the package instructions, if you want to be very English, or else use the following recipe for old-fashioned boiled custard, which is lip-smacking delicious.

Machine:  Large (10-cup) rice cooker

Yield:  Serves 8 to 10


  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use White Lily bleached all-purpose flour, unsifted right out of the bag)
  • 2 cups whole fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Set up the rice cooker for steaming by placing a small trivet or wire cooling rack in the bottom of the bowl.  Fill the bowl 1/4 to 1/3 full of hot water, cover the bowl, plug in, and set the switch to the Cook position.  If the water boils before you are ready to steam the pudding, flip the switch to the Keep Warm position.  Generously grease or spray a 1.5 quart (6 cup) round melon-shaped tin pudding mold with clip-on lid with a butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients in the order given with a large rubber spatula.  Stir well with a folding motion until evenly moistened.

Scrape into the prepared mold, filling two-thirds full.  Set the mold on the trivet or wire rack in the bottom of the cooker, making sure it is centered and not tipped.  Cover and flip the switch back to the Cook position to bring back to a rolling boil, if necessary.  Set a timer and steam for 60 minutes, checking a few times to be sure to not to let the water boil off.

Check the pudding, it should feel slightly firm to the touch, yet slightly moist.  It will be puffed, rising to fill the mold, and a cake tester will come out clean.  Unplug machine to turn off.  Carefully remove from the steamer with oven mits to a wire rack and remove the cover.  Let stand a few minutes, then turn upside down to unmold onto the rack or serving plate.

Serve still warm, cut in wedges, or at room temperature, with custard sauce.

English Custard Sauce

Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan or a microwave, scald the milk.  In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine the sugar and cornstarch.  Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.  Beat hard with a whisk or process briefly until light colored and foamy.  Whisking constantly, or with the food processor running, add the hot milk gradually into the egg mixture.  Pour back into the saucepan and place over medium heat.

Cook the sauce gently over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until just slightly thickened, smooth, and the sauce coats a spoon; do not boil, about 5 full minutes.  Pour into a storage bowl and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate, covered, until serving time.  Serve cold, pouring around the wedge of pud.


Excerpted from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2002, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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