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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pudding Cakes











Over the years, one of our family's favorite comfort foods has been a brownie pudding cake from a very old edition of the basic Betty Crocker cookbook. It's a good recipe to use when there isn't an egg in the house, doesn't cost a lot, and is fun and easy for kids to help make—as long as there is an adult around to handle the very hot water. (And do be sure the water is very hot, even boiling.)

Hot Fudge Pudding

1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
3 T cocoa
2 t baking powder
2 T melted butter (or oil)
1/2 c milk
Topping:
1 c brown sugar
4 T cocoa
1 3/4 c very hot water
1 c chopped nuts (optional)



1. Sift dry ingredients and stir in milk, butter, and nuts. Spread in oiled 9” square pan.
2. Mix brown sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over batter.
3. Pour hot water over entire batter.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.













The following Lemon Pudding Cake results in a similar cake over sauce dessert, but it uses a slightly different method. It does involve some beating of egg whites but is still very easy--and a lot quicker than lemon meringue pie!

Lemon Pudding Cake

4 eggs, separated
1/3 c lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 T butter
1 1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c milk

Prepare oven and pan. Place a large baking dish in the oven and add hot water to about 1 inch in depth. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
2. Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon rind, and butter or margarine and beat until thick and lemon colored.
3. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. NOTE: Batter will be very thin; don't worry!!
4. Fold in egg whites until just blended.
5. Pour into 8 inch square baking dish and set this into the pan of hot water.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. If the pudding begins to brown a little too much before the time is up, cover the pan loosely with foil.

Note: I used 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder and 1 1/2 cups water for the liquid. For a stronger lemon flavor, use an extra 1/4 cup of lemon juice and reduce the water to 1 1/4 cups, keeping the dry milk powder amount the same.


Why do I need to bake this in a pan of water?

Don't eliminate this step! Using a "water bath" ensures even cooking for delicate dishes like custards and this pudding. The water "insulates" the edges so that they do not become too brown or even burned before the center is adequately baked.

The biggest challenge this method presents is in finding the right combination of pans to hold both the pudding and the water bath. Here are a few suggestions you might have available:
• A 12 inch straight sided—and ovenproof—frying pan
• A small roaster
• A Dutch oven
• If your pudding will be baked in an aluminum or steel pan, a 9 X 13 pan may be large enough to accommodate it. 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dishes will probably not fit.
Remember, there will need to be water on all four sides of the pan, so don't use something that is just barely bigger than the pudding pan itself.

If you don't have anything large enough to accommodate your 8 inch square pan, try an 8 inch round pan in some of your options. Another way to address the problem is to bake the pudding in 6 to 8 individual ramekins. (If you use this alternative, the baking time should be reduced to 30 to 35 minutes.)

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