Chatelaine Kitchen

Adventures in recipe testing

I’m often asked how many times we test our recipes. My reply? Until we’re 100% confident that they’ll work at home (which usually means they’re tested at least three times). Once in awhile, though, we come across a recipe that requires a little more work. And that was the case our Cranberry Sticky Pudding – a perfect illustration of how even the slightest variation in technique or ingredient can yield a totally different result. Read on and you’ll see why.


For our Holiday Indulgence page, we wanted to give a contemporary twist to a classic Christmas dessert. Our Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe is a reader favourite, so we decided to add fresh cranberries to the mix and top it off with a citrus-infused caramel sauce.


Seems straightforward, right? Wrong. To our surprise, our first test was terrible. The puddings stuck to the pan and sunk in the centres.(See if for yourself, in a photo that will never appear in the magazine.)


So it was back to the drawing board. For our second test, we tried upping the flour, baking powder and soda. Still no good. It was still sticking and now the texture wasn’t quite right.


In the end, (we did something totally obvious) we patted the cranberries dry with a paper towel and voila – a lovely pudding that came out of the pan smoothly, with the perfect flavour balance of sweet and tart.

Even though we had already tested this recipe several times before it was printed the first time, this small variation required several more tests to get it just right. That’s ok, we were testing the new sauce anyways. It’s really a perfect match for this cranberry version. See pic of Cranberry sticky pudding below.



I’m planning on making this over the holidays for my aunt Jayne, one of the only members of my family who loves Christmas pudding. (Hopefully she doesn’t read my blog, but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.) Maybe it will even turn some of my other relatives into pudding lovers. (Believe me, it’s that good).


What kind of dessert do you serve on Christmas Day? Or is everyone too full after all that turkey?