Raisin Pudding (self-saucing)

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This is a very old-fashioned recipe, but with the cooler fall days upon us it seems a perfect time for this sweet treat with its spicy flavor and plump raisins. When I was a young and inexperienced cook, this was a simple dessert that I could prepare with a minimum of pantry ingredients and time investment–a life-saver when unexpected visitors stopped in.  These days, we  generally don’t have unexpected visitors (except the Fed-Ex driver, who never expects coffee and dessert, haha), but I like having this family favorite in my recipe repertoire.

The recipe is in two steps, so it is always a good idea to read through before starting.  Boil the water for the sauce when you turn the oven on to preheat, and it will be ready for you when you have the batter all mixed.  It’s pretty freaky to pour boiling water over the batter; do it slowly and carefully, pouring over the whole surface, not just in one spot. Resist the urge to stir it all together! You’ll look at it and wonder how on earth it will turn into dessert, but I promise, it does. The sauce will be very ‘liquidy’ when it comes out of the oven. Let the pudding rest for about 20 minutes and as it cools, the sauce will begin to thicken up.

Old-Fashioned Raisin Pudding
Batter:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice OR nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins, rinsed and drained

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. In separate small bowl, mix together oil, milk and vanilla. Stir raisins into flour mixture. Make a well in the flour and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir just until all ingredients are combined, being careful not to overmix. Spoon batter into greased 8-cup casserole or baking dish. To make sauce, melt butter in the boiling water and whisk in the brown sugar. Pour slowly over the surface of the batter. Do not stir! Carefully place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes until crust is set and golden brown. Remove pudding from oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Makes about 4 servings.

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