A few years after my grandmother died, my sister called me to get Granny’s Cherry Pudding recipe.
More like a bread pudding or cobbler than a pudding, this dessert was one of my sister’s favorites during the two years Christi lived with Granny. It is an easy wintertime dessert to whip up on the spur of the moment.
Yet, every time I make it, I recall the time my sister asked Granny to make it for her one late Autumn afternoon. To my sister’s surprise, Granny gave her a firm ‘no,’ and went on to explain that Cherry Pudding was a February dessert. And Granny responded in such a matter-of-fact way, that I think Christi, caught off-guard as she was by Granny’s refusal, just let it go.
It’s odd how connections become fixed in our minds, and that no one really knows how Granny came to think of her Cherry Pudding as strictly a February dessert. But if I were to guess, I would say Granny may have tied Cherry Pudding to a Cherry Tree to George Washington who had a February birthday. Or something like that….
But no matter. It’s February. And George’s birthday is just around the corner. So, at least by Granny’s strict way of thinking, it ‘s the just- right time to pass along this recipe — that I put down into writing, one winter evening about twenty years ago.
Lucky me — I must have called in February.
Cherry Pudding1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar, divided 1 cup flour 1 Tbsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup milk 1 can cherries, packed in water
Melt butter in cast-iron skillet — until it bubbles and turns a light golden color.
In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar with remaining dry ingredients – mix with milk until smooth. Pour on top of melted butter — do not stir.
Drain cherries from water — mix remaining 3/4 cup sugar with water. Arrange cherries on top of batter and slow add sweetened ‘juice’ to top — again, do not stir.
Bake in 350 oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice creams or whip cream.
Variation — For more fruit, add an 8 oz can of undrained crushed pineapple (packed in its own juice), mix in 1/2 cup sugar (and not 3/4 cup)– spoon sweetened pineapple on top of batter and arrange drained cherries on top of pineapple. With pineapple juice, water from cherries is discarded.
Oh, if it weren’t raining so hard I would go straight to the store and get cherries and make this. Except I’d have to go down to mom’s to get the cast iron skillet. And then she’d want to know why. And then I’d have to make it at her house. And then we’d have to have some tonight and she’d want to talk and I’d get home at midnight and be so jazzed with sugar I couldn’t sleep and when it was time to get up for work….
It would be your fault, you know!
It hit me after I’d put this post to bed that there was another good reason to keep this dessert fenced in by the days of February — All that butter!!!
Jiminy Cherries! One can taste the butter in every bite — so who needs cherries? I make a summer version with fresh peaches and brown sugar during peach season. And I’ve even made a canned peach version — without the sugar….
But somehow, regardless of your choice of fruit, with all that butter, I think Julia Child would have cozied up to this recipe just fine….