Steamed Cranberry Pudding with Butter-Orange Sauce

This is my updated version of an heirloom recipe shared with me by retired New Jersey cranberry grower Tom Darlington. His family has been prominent in the cranberry business in the Whitesbog area of the New Jersey Pine Barrens since the late 1860’s when his grandfather, J. J. White, was the first to dig bogs and raise cranberries where they didn’t originally grow. At the time, this approach was considered so preposterous that it was dubbed White’s Folly. But by the early twentieth century, the J. J. White Company had become the largest cranberry operation in the state.

Tom’s family has been enjoying this dessert at Thanksgiving and other holidays for as long as he can remember. It was handed down from his aunt, Elizabeth White. The pudding and sauce are a perfect pair: the cranberry pudding is moist and bright with bits of tart berries,and the mild, buttery orange sauce provides balancing richness and sweetness.–Nancy Baggett

LC On The Pleasures of Pudding Note

Here in the states, we tend to overlook the pleasures of pudding. We’re all about pies with tender, buttery, flaky crusts (well, flaky, that is, if you use lard) or teetering cakes that boast a fine crumb and a generous dollop of frosting between each tier. Yet there’s quite a lot of comfort to be found in a classic pudding and its almost wobbly yet just this side of sturdy texture that just sort of caresses you like a grandma’s hug. Go ahead. Pull up a spoon.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding with Butter-Orange Sauce

Steamed cranberry pudding in a tube pan on a napkin with a bowl of butter-orange sauce.
Nancy Baggett

Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 35 mins
Total 2 hrs
8 to 10 servings
441 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 1/2-quart pudding mold, a small single-piece tube or angel food cake pan, or a similar ring mold


For the pudding

  • 2 1/4 cups fresh cranberries or partially thawed frozen cranberries coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest preferably organic
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 3 tabespoons unsalted butter melted, plus more for the baking dish

For the butter sauce

  • 2/3 cup granulate sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Generous 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the pudding

  • Generously butter a 1 1/2-quart pudding mold, a small single-piece tube or angel food cake pan, or a similar ring mold. Dig through your cabinets until you find a deep pot or saucepan large enough to hold the mold. Place a wire rack or collapsible vegetable steaming basket in the pot or place a small heatproof bowl upside down in the pot.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the cranberries and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the orange zest, orange juice, molasses, and remaining 5 tablespoons sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the molasses mixture and the butter to the flour and spice mixture, stirring just until evenly incorporated. Stir in the cranberries until evenly distributed. Scrape the batter into the mold or pan, spreading it all the way to the edges. Cover the mold tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  • Add 3/4 inch hot water to the pot. Set the mold on the rack in the pot, cover the pot, and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat so the water simmers very gently. Gently simmer, checking the pot occasionally and replenishing the water, if needed, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the thickest part of the pudding comes out clean. The cooking time will vary considerably depending on the mold.Transfer the mold to a wire rack. Let the pudding cool until firmed up somewhat but not completely cooled, about 30 minutes. (If you wait too long it may be difficult to unmold.) Carefully run the tip of a table knife around the sides and center tube to loosen the pudding, then carefully invert the pudding onto a serving plate. (The pudding will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a low oven until slightly warm before serving.)

Make the butter sauce

  • In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and orange zest until thoroughly combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar completely dissolves and the butter melts.
  • Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • To serve the pudding, cut it into slices, spoon a little sauce over each slice, and pass the remaining sauce in a pitcher or sauceboat on the side.
Print RecipeBuy the The All-American Dessert Book cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 441kcal (22%)Carbohydrates: 64g (21%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 60mg (20%)Sodium: 228mg (10%)Potassium: 245mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 43g (48%)Vitamin A: 709IU (14%)Vitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 48mg (5%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Originally published November 02, 2009


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  1. 5 stars
    Is this process the same thing as cooking in a water bath? I’m unclear, because the description makes it sound like the pan will not be touching the water. In a water bath, I thought the water needed to come halfway up the pan. Is the process described here different? My grandmother made a steamed pudding like this, but the directions from her recipe don’t specify exactly how the steaming/water bath process works. I’d love to try this, though. So, to sum up: when making a steamed pudding, is the pan above the water and not touching it, or is in in the water such that water is touching the outer sides? Thanks!

    1. Hi Megan, depending on the height of your steaming rack, the bottom of the mold may be in contact with hot water. Adding 3/4 of an inch of water should essentially just steam the pudding.

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