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Orange-Figgy Steamed Pudding

It's well known in Britain that steamed pudding is one of the most fattening desserts there is, especially when it's prepared the traditional way, with suet, the hard fat from beef or mutton. Food stylist Stephana Bottom accepted the challenge of creating a healthier version. Using nonfat sour cream in place of suet, she lowered the calories but maintained the rich, full flavor that makes the dessert so beloved.

Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

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  • 1/2 pound dried Black Mission figs, stems discarded

  • 1/4 cup Cognac or Armagnac

  • Zest of 1 orange in 1-inch strips

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup molasses

  • 1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk

  • 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream

  • 1/4 cup applesauce

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1 cup minced mixed dried fruit

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

  • 6 candied orange slices (6 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons low-sugar apricot preserves

  • Boiling water


  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the figs, Cognac, zest and water. Cover with plastic; microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Reserve 4 figs. In a food processor, puree the contents of the bowl with the molasses.
  2. In a measuring cup, mix the milk, sour cream, applesauce, oil and vanilla. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In the large glass bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the whole egg and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the pureed fruit. In 2 alternating batches, beat in the dry and wet ingredients at low speed just until combined. Stir in the minced dried fruit.
  3. Spray a 6- to 8-cup steamed pudding mold or soufflé dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Arrange the candied orange slices in an overlapping pattern in the bottom of the mold. Halve the reserved figs lengthwise and tuck them in between the orange slices. Dollop the apricot preserves over the fruit. Pour the batter into the mold; tap the mold gently.
  4. Cover the mold with a piece of oiled parchment paper, followed by a piece of foil and then secure the lid. If using a soufflé dish, tie the parchment and foil in place with kitchen string.
  5. Set the pudding on a rack in a large pot. Pour enough boiling water into the pot to reach two-thirds of the way up the side of the pudding. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours; add more boiling water if the water evaporates.
  6. Carefully remove the pudding from the pot and let cool slightly. Uncover the pudding and invert it onto a plate. Replace any figs or orange slices that are stuck to the mold. Slice the pudding and serve warm.


One Serving 403 calories, 11.0 gm total fat, 5.2 gm saturated fat, 70 gm carb.

Contributed By Photo © Maura McEvoy Published January 2003

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