My mother's parents were English and many of the meals she fixed for us reflected this heritage. Christmas dinner was always roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Dessert was always plum pudding with warm sauce. There are many recipes for plum pudding and all are labor intensive. Mom made plum pudding from scratch a few times, but it was so much work she finally bought Crosse and Blackwell pudding imported from England.
The plum pudding was served with warm vanilla or rum sauce. I did not like the rich pudding, so I only ate a spoonful. But I could have eaten an entire bowl of sauce. Mom also served apple pie with warm vanilla sauce. The combination of warm sauce and fresh pie from the oven was heavenly. With a couple of changes the vanilla sauce recipe becomes rum sauce or rum-raisin sauce.
I have lightened the recipe by using Splenda Blend for Baking instead of sugar and elminating the half cup of butter in the original recipe. However, I have added a tablespoon of butter for flavor. Warm vanilla and rum sauce turn simple cakes -- vanilla, apple, and spice -- into special desserts. Top frozen waffles with vanilla ice cream and sauce and you have one of the best desserts on the planet. Garnish with a twist of orange peel and fresh mint to make your holiday desserts more festive.
WARM VANILLA SAUCE
1/2 cup Splenda Blend for Baking
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon light salt
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon butter (no substitutions)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the Splenda Blend for Baking, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan. Whisk in hot water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and nutmeg. Makes 8 servings.
WARM RUM SAUCE
Omit the vanilla and nutmeg. Make the sauce and remove from heat. Add 2 teaspoons of rum extract.
WARM RUM-RAISIN SAUCE
Omit the vanilla and nutmeg. Add 1/4 cup raisins to the sauce and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons of rum extract.
Copyright 2006 by Harriet HodgsonVanilla and Rum Sauces Make Holiday Desserts Special
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Before she became a health writer Hodgson was a food writer for the former "Rochester Magazine" in her home town of Rochester, MN. Her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com. A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. Another revies is posted on the American Hospice Foundation Website under the "School Corner" heading.