Pudding

Panettone ‘bread-and-butter’ pudding

panettonepudding

I’m not a huge fan of panettone but there is often one knocking around after Christmas and it does make a delicious cheat’s bread-and-butter pudding. This one came from the bottom box of a ‘Tower of Treats’ and was re-gifted to me in January. I was thrilled because I new exactly what to do with it.

Since there is fruit, mixed peel, butter and sugar already in the panettone you don’t need to add any extra – which is why I use the word ‘cheat’. If you have a particularly sweet tooth you can add some extra sugar to the custard if you like and I do add a light smear of extra butter to the top of each slice of panettone for a nice crispy crust.

It’s the perfect comfort food but very indulgent. Carbs, sugar, fat – it’s all in there. Sorry if you’re trying to be good. I’ll aim for a healthier recipe next time.

Panettone ‘bread-and-butter’ pudding

  • 1 panettone (mine was 500g and 20cm diametre), cut into slices about 2 cm thick
  • 30g of butter
  • 300ml of double cream
  • 600ml of milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar
  • Nutmeg
  • Optional – 50g of caster sugar

Lightly butter a ceramic baking dish approximately 20 cm x 30 cm (or one with a similar area).

Spread the rest of the butter thinly over the top surface of each slice of panettone and arrange in a single layer in the dish but with each slice overlapping the next (as above). If you want it to look prettier then you can cut the panettone slices into smaller pieces but I don’t bother.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream and, if you have a sweet tooth, the caster sugar.

Pour this over the top of the panettone slices, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour for the bread to soak up the custard mixture.

When you are ready to cook, remove the cling film and sprinkle over some demerara sugar and a good grating of nutmeg.

Place in an oven preheated to 180oC for 45 minutes – one hour (or until the custard is set – you can test this with a knife in the middle and if it comes out clean then it’s done – and the top is a deep golden brown). Mine took 55 minutes.

Let it stand for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long) before serving. Serve with pouring cream if you like but I think it is perfect just for itself.

panettonepudding2

It tastes so much better than it looks.

Chocolate Guinness fondants with cheesecake ice cream

chocolateguinnesscakes

The above photo does not do this pudding justice. I was a bit tipsy by the time I served/photographed it (as one often is after two previous courses and two bottles of wine!).

On the subject of food photography, I really enjoyed reading this article by the brilliant Ruby Tandoh about sharing pictures of food online. In it she argues that food that looks amazing doesn’t always taste so.

I particularly loved this paragraph and I will bear it in mind every time I beat myself up about my poor photographs for this blog. Whilst my photos maybe a bit crap they are at least honest and the food has tasted good (otherwise I would not offer you the recipe).

If you want to post your meal online, post away. Upload a picture of that sausage and mash. Don’t worry that the light is dim, that the gravy sloshes in a swampy pool across your plate. Sharing is a generous act, but perfectionism smothers that goodness. Upload the unfiltered, ugly pictures of your failed birthday cake, or your fish and chips in grease-soaked paper. Or, if you want to fuss over the exact positioning of four blueberries on top of a smoothie bowl for an hour before you tuck in, do that – but don’t forget to enjoy your food.


Getting back to the point, it was my 10th wedding anniversary on Friday and to celebrate I wanted to cook a special meal inspired by the food served at our wedding.

Our ‘big day’ was not at all fancy and our budget cake was a Chocolate Guinness one kindly made by my sister.

weddingcakes

I wanted to remember this in my anniversary menu but I don’t believe in serving cake as a dessert (unless it’s hot with custard). So I had the idea of making hot chocolate fondants flavoured with Guinness instead. And then to mirror the cream cheese icing on the cake serving the fondants with a cheesecake ice cream.

It worked really nicely so here are the recipes.

Chocolate Guinness fondants

Serves 4

  • 100g of good quality (70% cocoa) dark chocolate
  • 75g of butter
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 50g of muscavado sugar
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 100ml of Guinness

Butter four ramekins with butter and place in the freezer to chill.

Set your oven to 170oC.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over a low heat or in the microwave. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then stir in the two egg yolks.

In another bowl, beat together the two whole eggs, sugar and Guinness until light and foamy.

Fold in the chocolate mixture and the flour with a metal spoon until well incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into the chilled ramekins and bake for 9 minutes, or until the surface is set but there is a slight wobble in the middle.

Turn out onto plates and eat immediately with cheesecake ice cream (see recipe below).

NOTE: You can make these up in advance and keep covered in the fridge until you want to bake them. This is good if you’re making them for a dinner party. They also taste fine baked and then reheated in the microwave the next day.

Nigella Lawson’s cheesecake ice cream

  • 175ml full fat milk
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125g Philadelphia (or other full fat cream cheese)
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 350ml of double cream

In a bowl beat together the sugar, Philadelphia, vanilla and egg.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot and then pour this over the cream cheese mixture.

Then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat until the mixture thickens, whisking all the time. Try not to let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

Once the consistency of smooth custard, remove from the heat and whisk periodically until cooled to room temperature. Then place in the fridge to get really cold.

Finally add the double cream (lightly whipped) and lemon juice and pour into an ice cream maker. Churn until thick then put in the freezer to finish hardening.


Here’s a random photo of some baguettes I made this week. Aren’t they beautiful?

beautiful-baguettes

Not beautiful but very happy – Ben and I on our wedding day 10 years ago.

ben-and-zoes-wedding-029

Meringues

Meringues.jpg

Up until very recently meringues have been my culinary nemesis (along with brandy snaps but that’s another story).

I was going slightly crazy because I just couldn’t work out what  I was doing wrong. I tried lots of recipes and followed all the advice (buying fresh eggs, scrupulously cleaning the bowl and whisk, separating the eggs with great care).

But they would always collapse when I added the sugar, making a sticky, sickly-sweet, flat disc that was barley edible.

You may wonder why on earth I kept at it. Well I often make other things (custards, ice cream) that use only the egg yolk and meringues are the perfect way to use up the white. Also my grandma is a champion meringue maker and it just didn’t seem right that I couldn’t do it.

Anyway, still frustrated but determined, I watched this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrjWrWeM5JI) and finally worked out what I was doing wrong. I had been using this whisk attachment that came with my hand blender:

balloonwhisk.jpg

But the in the video the presenter used the two regular beaters instead.

handwhisk.jpg

And when I did that they came out beautifully.

So I am now making meringues regularly and very happily (hence the need for the recipe to be recorded on this blog).

Meringues

(a combination of the recipe in the YouTube video above and Delia Smith’s Pavlova recipe from her Complete Cookery Course)

  • Egg whites
  • Caster sugar – 50g per egg white

Set your oven to 150oC (fan).

Carefully separate your eggs making sure to get no yolk at all in with the white. Save the yolks for another use.

In a very clean, glass bowl, beat the egg whites with your electric hand blender (using the two regular beaters) until you get stiff peaks (in other words the mixture would stay in the bowl if you tipped it upside down).

Measure out 50g of caster sugar for each egg white used. Add this to the egg white a dessert spoonful at a time, mixing after each addition for about 10 seconds with the electric whisk, before adding the next.

At this point I like to swirl a bit of gel food colouring into the mix for a nice effect (yellow is used in the photo above). Dot the food colouring into the mix with a cocktail stick and then swirl a couple of times with a metal spoon.

Take a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and dollop the meringue mix onto the sheet using a metal spoon. You can make the meringues any size you like, or shape into a large circle with an indent in the middle if you are making a Pavlova.

3 egg whites will make five large meringues (as above) or one Pavlova.

Put the meringues into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 140oC.

Bake for one hour, then turn the oven off (do not open the door) and leave in the oven overnight until they are completely cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin pie

pumpkin pie with pumpkin 2
I’m a total Grinch when it comes to Halloween. I will carve a pumpkin (if pushed) but I was bought up to believe that ‘trick or treating’ is evil and the rest of the hype (a whole aisle of flammable costumes in Tesco for example) just makes me want to find a dark hole to climb into.

We do grow pumpkins because they are easy to grow at a time when not much else is happening on the allotment, but this year they were small and not great for carving. The upside was that they tasted amazing – the flesh was sweet and fresh, almost melon-like. My children happily gobbled it up raw.

With these delicious insides I decided to try making a pumpkin pie. I never liked it as a child but I thought I’d give it another go. So I googled for a recipe and this is an amalgamation of those that used ingredients I already had in my cupboard.

I stole the idea of a biscuit base from Good Food online (because I’m rubbish at pastry). Most recipes seemed to use evaporated milk but I only had condensed, so I found one that used that instead. The result was a pumpkin pie that was perfectly edible – rather like an egg custard tart with pizazz. Ben said it tasted Christmassy (that will be the cloves) so I might freeze some of the pumpkin puree and make this over Christmas.

Anyway, I know that I’ve missed the boat in posting this recipe now that Halloween (and Bonfire Night for that matter) have passed, but I wanted to record what I did ready for next year.

Pumpkin pie

At least 12 servings

For the crust

  • 200g digestive biscuits (approx. 13 biscuits), crushed (or you can use ginger biscuits)
  • 50g butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves (or you could use nutmeg if you dislike cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 425g pumpkin puree (see below if you don’t already have this to hand)
  • 397g can sweetened condensed milk

To make the pumpkin puree, first cut a medium pumpkin (or two small ones) into large wedges and remove the seeds with a spoon but don’t peel. Put the wedges into a large baking tray, cover with foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour at 180oC (the pumpkin flesh should be soft and you can test this with a skewer, if it goes through with no resistance then it’s done). Leave to cool and then scoop out the flesh from the skin and puree in a food processor. This will probably make more than the quantity required for this recipe.

For the base, smash up the biscuits either with a rolling pin in a plastic bag (my preferred method), or in a food processor.

Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Tip into a 23cm, loose-bottomed tart tin. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the base and up the sides of the tin. Put in the fridge and chill for at least half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 17oC.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together until smooth.

Remove the crust from the fridge and place on a baking tray in the middle of the oven. Pull out the shelf and carefully fill with the pumpkin mixture, pouring it right to the top. Try not to slosh the filling over the sides as you push the shelf back in.

Bake for 40 minutes until set.

Cool in the tin to room temperature then chill completely in the fridge.

Serve cold.

Pumpkins sinister

pumpkin pie slice

Peanut butter cookies

peanut butter cookies

If you think sugar and salt are evil then turn away now.

These cookies have both in abundance but they are absolutely delicious.

And I do apologise to anyone on a diet because there has been a bias towards sweet recipes on this blog in recent weeks. Believe it or not I do have some health food blogger followers, because I do occasionally post a recipe with kale in it.

Anyway, talking of sweet treats, hands up if you knew it was National Dessert Day on Wednesday. I didn’t until the University of Nottingham tweeted about it like it was something real that should be taken in all seriousness.

In a household where we nearly always have pudding, I struggle with the concept of ‘National Dessert Day’. Does it mean that you can only have dessert on that day, or does it mean you should have double the amount of dessert? Either way, for me, these national/international days of whatever some marketing bod fancies are a load of old tripe (but then this is coming from someone who doesn’t do Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day).

But let’s give a big cheer for pudding (or dessert if you must) because it makes life worth living. And if you’re NOT on a diet then do try these cookies. I challenge you to only eat one.

Peanut butter cookies

Based on a recipe from the NY Times website (I’ve changed the name from ‘Salty sweet peanut butter sandies’ because that’s a bit too American for me)

Makes about 24

  • 115g of butter, softened (add a large pinch of salt to the recipe if you’re using unsalted butter)
  • 75g of granulated sugar
  • 85g of light brown sugar
  • 205g of peanut butter, smooth or chunky
  • 1 egg
  • 125g of plain flour
  •  1 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar for sprinkling

Heat your oven to 170oC and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy (in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, with an electric hand mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon).

Add the peanut butter and egg, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined.

Put heaped teaspoons of dough onto the baking sheets. The original recipe uses a cookie scoop but I’ve never heard of one of these. The cookies will not spread much when they bake so they can be placed quite close together, but leave room for air circulation so they can brown.

In a small bowl, mix one teaspoon of Maldon sea salt (or other flaky sea salt) and one of granulated sugar. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with this mixture.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown.

Carefully lift the cookies off the baking sheets with a palette knife and cool on wire racks.

Try not to eat too many in one go.

Brown sugar ice cream with a miso caramel swirl

miso caramel ice cream

I don’t own a mobile phone and I’m not on facebook (which I hate) but I do rather uncharacteristically use (and even like) twitter. And I don’t mind admitting that this is mainly to salivate over pictures of beautiful food. Some people may find it super sad but I really am interested in what Nigella (who lives a life of glamour and privilege so far removed from mine) is eating for lunch.

I also follow my almost-neighbour and culinary magician Sat Bains (although I could happily do without the macho gym and gun photos) and he once tweeted a picture of his miso fudge which had me dribbling all over my laptop. I could literally taste how great that flavour combination would be.

Despite not being able to try the real thing (because I’m not wealthy enough to eat at his restaurant on even a yearly basis) the idea stayed imprinted in my brain. Then recently I came across a recipe for miso caramel in Tim Anderson’s new Japanese cookbook ‘Nanban’ and so I just had to give it a go.

In Tim’s recipe he uses the miso caramel to flavour a ‘whippy’ ice cream (made with cornflour not egg yolk) and mixes it in completely. In my version I use my favourite standard vanilla ice cream recipe (only this time I replace the caster sugar with brown sugar) and then use the miso caramel as a ripple. This way you get a pure hit of sugary umami* (for all those Sat lovers out there you’ll know what this means).

All pretensions removed, if you like ice cream, salted caramel and Japanese flavours then it’s very likely that you’ll love this ice cream.

NOTE: umami* – a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavour of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate (miso is naturally high in MSG, as are many other foods that we all love – Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, marmite, ripe tomatoes, breast milk!)

Brown sugar ice cream with a miso caramel swirl

For the miso caramel

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 55g miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the brown sugar ice cream

Makes 1 1/2 pints

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 dessert spoon of cornflour
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream

First make the caramel. Heat the milk in the microwave or in a pan until it is nearly boiling.

Then put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and let it bubble away until in turns a dark amber caramel. Keep a careful eye on things because it will turn very quickly.

Whisk in the hot milk but be careful because it will bubble up. Keep whisking until all the caramel has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the miso and vanilla extract.

Pass the mixture through a sieve and then return to the heat and let it simmer away until it thickens up a bit. You want a nice thick pouring consistency. Leave to go completely cold.

Now for the ice cream. In a bowl beat the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together.

Heat the milk in a saucepan slowly until it is almost boiling and then stir this into the egg and sugar mixture.

Tip the whole lot back into the pan and place on a medium heat stirring continuously with a whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Try not to let it boil or there will be a chance it will curdle and ruin.

Cover the mixture and leave it to cool first to room temperature and then in the fridge.

Once cold, stir in the cream and churn in an ice cream maker until thick.

To assemble, take a plastic container and first put in half the ice cream mixture, then drizzle over half the caramel. Spoon in the remaining ice cream and then finally the rest of the caramel. Take a butter knife and run it through the mixture in a wavy motion to create the swirl.

Place in the freezer to finish hardening.

NOTE:

If you like ice cream and don’t already have one I really do recommend buying an ice cream maker. I have a Magimix Le Glacier ice cream maker – the cheaper sort where you have to freeze the bowl overnight before using (about £50 from John Lewis or Argos). If you don’t have an ice cream maker then you can still follow this recipe but you will need to whip the double cream first before adding it to the milk/egg/sugar mixture. Fold the cream into the custard and then freeze, beating every couple of hours with a fork or in a food processor until it is firm enough to scoop (usually about 6 hours).

If you really can’t be bothered with making ice cream then just make the caramel and pour over shop bought vanilla.

Comfort food – rice pudding

rice pudding 3

Firstly, I have to apologise for the terrible photo that looks like something a cat has coughed up. I’ve just done a quick Google image search though and I think rice pudding is the least photogenic dessert there is. The picture does not do justice to this very delicious rice pudding recipe which comes from a Marks and Spencer ‘Best of British’ cookbook.

If you’re a fan then there’s nothing like a good baked rice pudding on a cold wintry day – it has the effect of a warm comfy fleece blanket on your insides. It’s very simple to make and it will make your kitchen smell all homely and wonderful. It’s best to time the cooking so that you can eat it straight away, but it is still good reheated in the microwave.

Baked rice pudding

Serves 4-6

  • 115g pudding rice
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 450 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 400 ml double cream (although if you’re trying to be healthy you can use an extra 400 ml of milk instead)
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • Whole nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 140oC fan.

Butter a ceramic baking dish (mine is 20 x 30 cm) and pour in the rice and the sugar.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until almost boiling then pour into the dish over the sugar and rice.

Add the vanilla extract and stir well until the sugar is dissolved.

Cut the butter into small pieces and dot over the surface of the milk. Grate a generous amount of nutmeg over the top.

Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours until the top is well browned. I prefer not to stir during this time so that it forms a nice brown skin.

Serve hot with a good dollop of raspberry jam.

A job for a rainy weekend – Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding Elizabeth stirringChristmas pudding mix

I know, I know it’s only October – I too hate the fact that supermarkets have their Christmas aisles out as soon as the children have gone back to school in September. I really try to avoid thinking about Christmas until at least November, but this weekend it was so rainy and cold that it seemed like a good idea to get on with making the Christmas pudding which involves being house/stove bound for a whole day.

It’s meant to be a fun family activity (at least that’s what my ‘Homemaker’ magazine tells me) and it is in a way, but stirring up with two small children is not what I would call stress free. Firstly, they want to eat all the ingredients (raisins and sultanas being a favourite of almost all children), and secondly the mixture is very stiff even for an adult to stir. Eddie sent several spoonfuls flying across the kitchen with the effort making a right old mess.

This recipe comes from the safe and reliable Delia. This is the fifth Christmas that I’ve made my own and to be honest I’m never entirely sure whether it really is worth the hassle – you have to steam the puddings for 8 hours!!! But I do think that home made tastes better and I have managed to turn previous Christmas pudding haters with this recipe.

And if you look at the economics it does work out a bit cheaper too. The ingredients for this recipe total around £11 (based on my Tesco shop). If you buy the equivalent weight in Tesco finest puddings you are looking at £4 a pudding which means a saving of £5 (however this doesn’t include the cost of having the hob and fan on for a whole day).

They call the day you make your Christmas pudding ‘stir up Sunday’, but with this recipe you leave the mixture overnight before steaming so it’s best to do the stirring on the Saturday and steam on the Sunday.

Delia’s Christmas pudding

Makes 2 x 2 pint puddings (which serve 6-8) or 4 x 1 pint puddings (which serve 4)
I make 1 x 2 pint pudding for our family Christmas dinner and two smaller 1 pint ones to give away.

Dry ingredients

  • 225g shredded suet
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 225g white breadcrumbs
  • 450g soft brown sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g raisins
  • 560g currants
  • 50g blanched, chopped almonds
  • 50g mixed peel
  • The grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped finely

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 300ml stout (Delia uses 150ml stout, and 150ml barley wine but barley wine is quite difficult to get hold of so I just use more stout instead)
  • 4 tablespoons rum

If you are making the whole amount above it is best to use two large mixing bowls, measuring half the ingredients into each, otherwise it is really difficult to mix up.

Basically you add all the dry ingredients to the bowl in the order above mixing thoroughly before adding the next.

Then in a different bowl beat the wet ingredients. Firstly the eggs, then mix in the rum and stout. Empty this over the dry ingredients and stir very hard indeed until the mixture forms a dropping consistency. You may need a little more stout.

After mixing, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest overnight.

The next morning divide the mixture into pudding basins greased with a little butter and pack the mixture into them. Cover each basin with a square of greaseproof paper (with a fold in the middle to allow for expansion) and a square of pudding cloth on top*. You can attach these to the rims with string, or I use a thick elastic band. You may also want to make a handle with the string so that you can lift the hot puddings out easily once they are done.

Steam the puddings for 8 hours. I don’t have a steamer so I place the bowls on a scrunched up ball of tin foil in a pan with about 2 inches of boiling water and a lid. You need to keep an eye on the proceedings and top up with more boiling water periodically so that they don’t boil dry.

After 8 hours leave the puddings to cool. Replace the greaseproof paper and pudding cloth with fresh and store in a cool place until Christmas.

On Christmas day you will need to steam the pudding for around 2 hours before serving.

*You can buy pudding cloths or muslin squares from Lakeland but they are rather expensive (£5.39 for 10). I use old muslin cloths which I had when the children were babies (well washed of course) which I rip up into squares. I wash and reuse these from year to year.

This is just to show the fold in the greaseproof paper which allows the pudding to expand.

This is just to show the fold in the greaseproof paper which allows the pudding to expand.

Three puddings ready for steaming.

Three puddings ready for steaming.

Christmas pudding Eddie stirring

Trying to be helpful.

NOTE

If you want to make a smaller quantity below are the calculations.

For 4 small puddings, or 2 small and 2 large, or 1 large and 3 small For 3 small puddings, or 1 large and one small For 2 small puddings or one large For 1 small pudding
Shredded suet 225g 168.75g 112.5g 56.25g
Self-raising flour 110g 82.5g 55g 27.5g
Breadcrumbs 225g 168.75g 112.5g 56.25g
Soft brown sugar 450g 337.5g 225g 112.5g
Mixed spice 1 tsp ¾ tsp ½ tsp ¼ tsp
Nutmeg ½ tsp 3/8 tsp ¼ tsp 1/8 tsp
Cinnamon ¼ tsp somewhere between 1/4 & 1/8 1/8 tsp my brain hurts
Sultanas 225g 168.75g 112.5g 56.25g
Raisins 225g 168.75g 112.5g 56.25g
Currants 560g 420g 280g 140g
Almonds 50g 37.5g 25g 12.5g
Mixed peel 50g 37.5g 25g 12.5g
Orange rind 1 ¾ ½ ¼
Lemon rind 1 ¾ ½ ¼
Apple 1 ¾ ½ ¼
Stout 300ml 225ml 150ml 75ml
Rum 4 tbsp 3 tbsp 2 tbsp 1 tbsp
Eggs 4 3 2 1
Christmas pudding 2015

The difference two years makes. Elizabeth making Christmas pudding 2015.

How to make a man happy – Eve’s pudding

Eve's pudding with apples

As much as I love both my father and my husband their characters are poles apart. My dad is very practical and likes home improvements, electrical gadgets and precise detail. He reads the latest thrillers by Dan Brown and John Grisham and enjoys mowing the lawn and visiting the tip. My husband, on the other hand, loves factual history books, literature, antiques and art pottery. He detests modern technology and DIY makes him very, very cross.

There is however one thing that they have in common and that’s their love of Eve’s pudding. Both would name it as their favourite dessert and it’s a sure fire way to make them both very, very happy. There’s really not much to love about this traditional English pudding. Delicious, slightly tart apples with a lovely gooey sponge topping. Apparently the name refers to Eve in the bible and the apples are those from the tree of knowledge.

I’ve tried making this with other stewed fruit at the bottom such as rhubarb and gooseberry but it just isn’t the same.

Eve’s pudding

Serves 4-6

For the stewed apple bottom

  • 2 large cooking apples, I use Bramleys, about 500g in total
  • A good knob of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (although amount of sugar will depend on the tartness of your apples/how sweet you like your puddings)

For the topping

  • 75g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of warm water

Preheat the oven to 160oC fan.

Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks about half an inch square.

Add the apples to a saucepan along with the butter and sugar and cook on a medium heat with a lid on until the apples are soft. I like there to be a mixture of mush and apples still intact. Test the mixture for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary remembering that the topping is very sweet and this will counter balance some of the tartness in the apples.

Transfer to a lightly buttered ceramic baking dish (about 1 1/2 pints). You can also divide the mixture up into ramekins for individual portions (this recipe makes 6).

For the topping, put the butter, self-raising flour, sugar and eggs into a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric hand whisk until incorporated, be careful not to over mix. Add a spoonful of warm water to the mix and give it another quick whisk.

Spoon the mixture over the apples and cook in the oven.

How long you cook the Eve’s pudding is a matter of taste. If you’re doing it by the book then 30-35 minutes is the suggested time. You then serve with cream or custard.

In our family though, we like the sponge to still be runny in the middle. This also makes a sort of custard/sauce so you don’t need any accompaniment. If you think you would like this (think the deliciousness of uncooked cake mix) then 25 minutes should do it (or 15-20 minutes for ramekins).

Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.