Monday, January 6, 2014

Clementine Kalamata Pudding in Rosemary Caramel

Clementine Kalamata Steamed Pudding
Photograph by A. Schloss
This new age take on an Old World dessert is completely my fault. I made it up, tested it to the nth degree, and stand behind its unashamed sweet and savory idiosyncrasies. It is constructed like a traditional sticky toffee steamed pudding with salty olives and candied clementine taking the candied dates' role, honey and rosemary stepping in for the toffee sauce, and silken chestnut flour playing the supporting starchy role typically taken by a wheat flour-based pudding mixture. The totality is earthy and cosmopolitan.

It is a riff on a sweet and savory cornmeal pudding I developed for  Cooking Slow (page 196). That recipe was one of my favorites in the book and the star of a dinner I did with a local restaurant (Park Plates) last month. The attending crowd loved it as much as I had when I created the recipe, and though I still agreed (it is delicious), I felt a little embarassed by its unabashed quirkiness, the very quality that had first charmed me. 

Cornmeal's rustic character, simultaneously plush and gritty in the pudding, started to feel more pretentious than seductive to me, and the dark tint from the olives, which I had initially admired, changed from being a charming quirk to a minor flaw. I was prompted to take another look. When I brought the revised permutation to a pot luck New Year's Eve party my original passion instantly reignited. The changes made this unique dessert both more sophisticated and more approachable. I love being in love. 

Change 1) Cornmeal, which gave the original a rustic grainy consistency has been switched to chestnut flour yielding a silken texture and a subtle earthy aroma. I have given a link for chestnut flour that you can purchase online, or you can find it at most natural food retailers. Both the cornmeal and chestnut flour recipes are gluten-free.

Slow Cooker Candied Clementines
Photograph by A. Schloss
Change 2) The original recipe called for candied orange peel, simmered in water to soften it. I replaced this step with a slow- cooked clementine compote that I have been making for years and just posted, thus skipping a cooking step, and giving you a leftover cache of luscious clementine goo for spreading on your morning toasted muffin. If you don't want to make the compote, I advise you to reconsider, or you can substitute any good quality orange marmalade. 

Change 3) Steamed puddings are traditionally made from three component parts - a fruit mixture, a sauce, and a pudding mixture. The Cooking Slow recipe employs the Old World baking technique of adding baking soda to the fruit mixture to neutralize its acid so that it does not disturb the acid-base balance that is aerating the pudding. Because baking soda is alkaline, it affects the red pigment in the kalamata olives, casting it towards green. To mitigate the color change I moved the baking soda from the fruit component to the dry ingredients in the pudding mixture so that it would be diluted before it came in contact with the kalamata olives.

Steamed Clementine Kalamata Pudding in Rosemary Caramel

Makes 8 servings

Clementine Kalamata Pudding cloaked in Rosemary Caramel
Photograph by A. Schloss

For the rosemary caramel:
2 cups/480 ml heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup/50 g sugar
1/4 cup/60 ml honey
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the pudding:
1 1/4 cups/175 g chestnut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup/150 g sugar
2 large eggs
6 oz/170 g pitted Kalamata olives, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces, about 1/2 cup chopped
3/4 cup/180 ml Clementine Compote or orange marmalade
1/2 cup/120 ml hot water
1 tbsp orange liqueur or brandy

Pudding Mold with Sauce
1) To make the caramel, simmer the cream, sugar, honey, rosemary, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2) Coat a 1 1/2 qt/1.4 l soufflé dish or pudding mold with the 1 tbsp butter. Pour two-thirds of the sauce into the prepared mold and put in the freezer, until the sauce is solid, about 15 minutes.

3) To assemble the pudding, mix the chestnut flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Mix the chopped olives, clementine compote, hot water, and liqueur in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beating Butter, Sugar and Eggs
Photograph by A. Schloss
4) Beat the softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl, until creamy. Beat in the eggs until well combined. Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and egg mixture in two additions alternating with the olive-clementine mixture in a single addition.

Foil Topped Souffle Dish
Photograph by A. Schloss
5) Spoon the pudding on top of the frozen sauce. Cover the top of the mold with heavy-duty aluminum foil and secure to the bowl with some string or a rubber band. Crimp the overhang of foil so that it does no hang more than 1/2 inch/13 cm below the string.

6) Put the covered mold in a large saucepan or soup pot large enough to hold it without the mold touching the sides of the pot, and pour boiling water around the mold until the water comes about half way up the side of the mold and does not touch the foil. Cover the pot and steam the pudding over low heat for 3 hours adding more water if the level should drop by more than half. When done the top of the pudding will be dry and the center will feel barely soft.

7) While the pudding is steaming heat the reserved caraemel sauce in a skillet over medium heat until it is boiling vigorously and turns to a golden caramel color, stirring often, about 8 minutes; set aside.

8) Remove the pudding mold from the water and cool for 5 minutes. Take off the foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and invert on to a plate. Scrape any sauce clinging to the mold over the top of the pudding. Serve in wedges drizzled with some of the remaining sauce. If the sauce has gotten too thick, thin with a little warm milk.

Clementine Kalamata Steamed Pudding in Rosemary Caramel
Photograph by A. Schloss


Chilling Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: about 3 hours
Store: for up to 2 days, covered in the refrigerator. Can be rewarmed briefly in a microwave.

In a Slow Cooker

Prepare the pudding as described through step #5. Put the covered pudding mold in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add boiling water to the cooker half way up the side of the mold. Cover the crock and cook on high for 3 hours. Finish and serve as described in steps #7 and 8. 


  1. What beautiful photography! I'm going to make this recipe just so I can take a picture of it. Well not just for that...

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