Fruit puddings stem from a Victorian tradition. These desserts were steamed or boiled and filled with raisins, other dried fruits, spices, and liquor. Many puddings today are made using instant packages, so a homemade fruit pudding is a delicious creation that is sure to make dessert special.
Fruit Pudding Recipes
One of the most popular fruit pudding in the United States is banana pudding--a down-home, rich concoction made with slices of ripe bananas and vanilla wafers, layered between mounds of custard and kissed with a hint of vanilla extract. Other fruit pudding recipes tend to run toward the instant variety, dolled up with fresh or canned fruits, or versions of bread puddings with fruit.
- 25 ounces roasted or ripe bananas (4 to 5 bananas)
- 2 1/2 ounces sugar
- 1 1/4 ounces butter
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- 9 ounces sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 1/4 ounces egg yolks
- 7 1/2 ounces shelled eggs
- 1 3/4 ounces cornstarch
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ounces banana liqueur, optional
- Smash the bananas with a fork. Place them in a pot or bowl with the butter, sugar, and milk. Chill the mixture for at least 4 hours.
- Using a fine mesh sieve or strainer, strain the banana mixture. Push the bananas with a spoon to get as much smooth pulp as possible.
- Put the banana mixture, sugar, and salt into a sturdy saucepan. Whisk the ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the burner and set the mixture aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Blend the egg yolks, eggs, and cornstarch with a whisk, blender, or food processor. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Gradually pour the hot milk and banana mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
- Return the pudding to the stove on medium heat. Whisk until the pudding thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and whisk in the melted butter and banana liqueur, if using. Blend or process the pudding until smooth, strain if you like, and chill thoroughly before serving.
Berry Bread Pudding
- 5 cups stale bread, cubed (such as brioche, challah, croissants, or white sandwich bread)
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
- Put the cubed bread on a baking sheet. Spread the cubes evenly and toast them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Transfer the bread to the baking pan.
- Whisk the milk, cream, and sugar in a pot over medium heat on the stove. Continuing whisking as the mixture reaches a simmer. When the sugar dissolves, take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
- Beat the eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer. Pour about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Gradually pour in the rest of the hot milk mixture and whisk until combined.
- Pour the custard over the bread in the baking pan. Let the pudding stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then press the cubes on top down into the liquid.
- Sprinkle the top of the pudding with the berries, evenly distributing them.
- Bake the pudding inside a bigger pan filled with boiling water that goes halfway up the side of the dish. Take the pudding out of the oven after 40 minutes or until it is just set in the center. Serve the pudding warm or let it chill completely before slicing and serving.
Traditional Plum Pudding
Plum pudding, or Christmas pudding, actually doesn't contain any plums. Historians point out that years ago, the words "plum" and "raisin" were interchangeable. This traditional dessert also contained suet (fat) for a delicate balance of flavor and texture, along with the raisins and a healthy dose of brandy. Plum pudding was a long labor of love, as it took five to eight hours to boil or steam it in tin molds or boiling bags. A perfect accouterment to the puddings would be ice cream, a hard sauce, or a flaming presentation of ignited brandy or rum.
Modern cooks have fine-tuned traditional recipes and come up with additional cooking methods. There are four different cooking techniques for fruit pudding:
- Steamed: Mixed ingredients are poured into an oiled mold and steamed on top of the stove over low heat for several hours.
- Baked: Ingredients are poured into a prepared container, placed in a larger container of hot or boiling water called a water bath, and then baked in an oven until done.
- Boiled: Pudding mixture is constantly stirred over heat until thickened.
- Chilled: Pudding is made from a dry mix and a liquid, usually milk, mixed until slightly thickened, and chilled in the refrigerator until set.
Modern Fruit Puddings
Today's fruit pudding recipes yield soft, thick desserts, including flans and custards. Some recipes that have the name "fruit pudding" bear a striking resemblance to cakes that are combinations of fruit and batter, surrounded by a water bath, and baked until the batter is set. Others only have fruit flavorings or extract laced into a batter that is baked until it achieves a pudding-like consistency. The closest recipes to the old-school variety use prepared sponge cake, angel food cake, or stale bread as a base or layering ingredient to encase fresh or stewed fruits. Whipped cream or sauces are served on the side, yielding sweet tales and sweet traditions to satisfy your sweet tooth!