Category Archives: pudding

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding

Duerrs sent me a sample of their jam specifically made for home bakers. Made to be easily spreadable and stable when cooked their rhubarb and custard jam brings back memories of the sweets from childhood. I have been racking my brain as to the best way to use the jam. Last week I spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes for my bread baking courses and whilst I was making cardamom scented buns I thought about using the jam as a filling for a ginger flavoured bun. Rhubarb and ginger are one of my favourite flavour pairings.  They were very tasty but because I made them in a whirl shape a lot of the jam escaped during baking, so I am back to the drawing board with that one. I think if I make a bun that is more like a doughnut with the jam enclosed that will work better. More experimentation will take place later this week.

On Sunday I was making dinner for Mothering Sunday and so was thinking of a dessert that would make use of the jam. I was tempted by roly poly and Manchester Tart but as I was looking through the index of Dorothy Hartley’s Food in England I noticed her recipe for Aromatic Shropshire Pudding with Brandy. I am not sure how I have missed this recipe before, being a Shropshire Lass through and through. My version is based loosely on Dorothy’s recipe, her version has no jam in it, but as it is a steamed pudding and I seem incapable of following other people’s recipes I thought why not? I didn’t have any brandy either so I swapped that for some dessert wine that I have sitting on the top of the cupboard. I swapped suet for butter too. Dorothy suggests serving it with brandy butter because in her words “(T)his is brown and aromatic, and, served with this butter and sugar, makes a good pudding for a frosty day”, I made proper custard. I did say it was loosely based on Dorothy’s recipe.

This recipe is a good way of using up stale bread and is very much like a sponge steamed pudding. I had some cold today with fridge cold cream and it was just as delicious in a different way.

225g breadcrumbs
100g butter
60g light brown sugar
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 generous teaspoon brandy, dessert wine or liqueur of your choice
2 eggs, beaten with 1-2 tbsp of water
150g jam

Method

I made this in a food processor  by putting the breadcrumbs and butter into the processor and whizzing it, then adding the sugar, nutmeg, brandy/dessert wine and the beaten egg mixture and whizzing briefly again.

You can make it without a food processor by grating the cold butter into fine breadcrumbs and then adding the rest of the ingredients and using your hands to bring it all together.  The mixture should be quite moist.

Butter an ovenproof bowl that has a 1-pint (500ml) capacity and spoon the jam into the bottom of the bowl. Place the mixture on top of the jam. Cut a large square of greaseproof paper and fold a pleat in the middle of it. Tie securely with string, preferably making a handle with the string. Place a trivet in the bottom of a large saucepan. Put the pudding in and carefully pour hot water in to cover the bowl by three-quarters. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer and simmer for three hours.

Lift the bowl carefully out of the water. Remove the paper. Invert a serving plate onto the top of the bowl and turn the pudding out. Be careful as sometimes it can  pop out and splash hot jam at you. Serve with cream, custard or brandy butter.

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding before cooking

Aromatic Shropshire Pudding before cooking

Duerrs sent me a free sample of their jam to try. All opinions are my own and honest. 

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Cardamom and almond steamed pudding

cardamom and almond steamed pudding

 

A steamed pudding rounds off a sunday roast better than most puddings I find. My girls both love a syrup sponge. Yesterday I thought I would fancy it up a bit. The addition of freshly ground cardamom adds a delicious scent and the crunch of lightly toasted almonds adds bite to the squidgy, teeth-achingly sweet syrupy sponge. I did make a mistake though. I didn’t make custard to go with it. Last time I made custard after sunday lunch I curdled the eggs trying to cook it too quickly. It’s easier to get a pot of cream out of the fridge. But this pudding deserves custard and I shouldn’t have shied away from it. I won’t next time.

This recipe is inspired by one in Hilaire Walden’s Glorious Puddings, and the title of this book says it all. I have made a few changes to make it my own.

50g flaked almonds
2 tbsp golden syrup
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
4 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and bashed to a powder
3 eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds

Method
Place the flaked almonds in a dry pan and place over a medium heat until they are lightly toasted. Pour onto a plate and set aside until you are ready to serve the pudding.

Grease a 1½ pint capacity heatproof bowl with a little butter. Take a teaspoon of ground almonds and tip into the bowl and swirl around until it gives a light coating all over. Tip out any excess. Spoon the golden syrup into the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

Fill a large saucepan half-full with water and place a small plate or trivet at the bottom. Bring to the boil.

Beat the butter, sugar and ground cardamom together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs  one at a time and beat well between additions. Fold in the flour and the ground almonds until well combined. Spoon carefully into the bowl over the syrup. Level the top carefully. Cover with a pleated piece of greaseproof paper and tie with string. Place carefully into the pan of boiling water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. This needs to steam for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. I place the pan into the simmering oven of my Aga once it is boiling. I tend to leave it longer than 45 minutes. Yesterday it sat in the pan in the simmering oven for about two hours while I made and ate dinner with no harm coming to it.

Carefully remove the paper, remembering that steam will rush out, place a deep serving dish on top of the bowl and carefully turn it over. The pudding should just slip out, sometimes making a satisfying sucking noise as it does so.  Sprinkle the almonds over the top and serve with custard.

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Whisky and honey cheesecake with a raspberry sauce

Well, now we have got Christmas and New Year out of the way, I thought I would share a recipe that would be very good for Burns’ Night.  Burns Night is a Scottish celebration on January 25th to mark the contribution of Robert Burns to Scottish culture.

We are not Scottish, we don’t live anywhere near Scotland, but any excuse for a party. My parents are having a Burns’ Night bash on the Saturday after the 25th and I came up with this cheesecake for that night. Obviously, I had to have a test-run first.

It is a celebration of Scottish food. The Scots are famed for their whisky, their honey and their raspberries. I have also used Scottish oatcakes in the base, as a Scot needs their oats.

It’s a lovely combination, and obviously at this time of year you will need to use frozen raspberries if you are in the same hemisphere as me, but I am going to try it in the summer with a layer of fresh raspberries in the place of the raspberry sauce.  Even if you aren’t celebrating Burns’ Night, I urge you to give this a go. But, it is perfect after your haggis and tatties and neeps.

For the biscuit base:
150g Scottish Oatcakes
100g digestives
150g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp runny honey (local or Scottish)

For the cheesecake filling:
250g mascarpone (at room temperature)
250g cream cheese (at room temperature)
300ml double cream
3tsp runny honey
5-7 tbsp Scottish whisky (amount needed will depend on your taste)

For the raspberry sauce:
250g raspberries (frozen at this time of year)
3 tsp runny honey
2 tsp raspberry vinegar (optional)
½ tsp arrowroot powder mixed with 1 tsp cold water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or gas mark 4

To make the base, place the oatcakes and digestives into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin until they are fine crumbs (or you could use a food processor).  Place into a bowl and add the honey and the melted butter and mix well.  Press into a 23cm springform cake tin using a metal spoon until firmly levelled.  Place in the oven for 6 minutes until golden. Leave to cool thoroughly.

To make the cheesecake filling, place the mascarpone, cream cheese and honey into a large bowl and mix well together.  Softly whip the cream in another bowl.  Then carefully fold the cream into the cheese mixture.  Add the whisky to your taste. To do this begin by  adding four tablespoons of whisky and taste, then add a tablespoon at a time until it tastes right to you. Spoon the mixture onto the cool base and level the top with a metal spoon.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Make the sauce by placing the frozen raspberries into a saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the honey and the raspberry vinegar (if you are using it) and cook the raspberries until they have become pulpy (about five minutes of cooking).  Sieve over a large bowl, pressing the raspberries through with a spoon so that you only have seeds left in the sieve and a seedless sauce in the bowl. Pour the sauce back into the pan and add the arrowroot and water mixture.  Bring to the boil and cook until slightly thickened. Pour into a jug and cool completely.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Just before serving, remove the sides of the cake tin and place the cheesecake onto a serving plate.  Pour the sauce over the top of the cheesecake, spreading evenly.  Serve in thick slices with extra cream.

 

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Gooseberry and Elderflower cheesecake

Firstly, I must apologise for not posting this sooner.  I made it last week when the elderflowers were still in bloom, and this may not be the case for some of you in the more southerly reaches of the UK. However, all is not lost as you could replace the flower heads with a couple of dessertspoonfuls of Elderflower Cordial if you really wanted to give it a go, and I recommend that you do.  It has the most delicately perfumed taste, with both the gooseberries and the elderflower complementing one another beautifully.

I have two of my school gate friends to thanks for this recipe.  Firstly S for her gift of a punnet of lovely gooseberries. We have about five gooseberry bushes in the garden but we cannot get rid of the mildew which infects them each year.  We have moved them, sprayed them, but still the berries are marred before they are ready.  I think they will have to be sacrificed.  So her offering is very much appreciated. Secondly, S for his inspiration.  He was telling me how he had picked some gooseberries on his allotment and had used them in a gooseberry and elderflower fool.  He had read comments below the recipe that he had sourced online that a biscuit was needed to complete the dessert and so he had used a digestive crumb base.  I thought this sounded very good indeed.

However, I foolishly put more than a splash of water in the gooseberries when I was stewing them and they had a lot more liquid than could be soaked up by a tub of cream.  Fortunately for me I had a tub of mascarpone skulking in the fridge and so instead of fool, I made a cheesecake.  It is funny how a recipe can develop.

For the biscuit crumb base
200g digestive biscuits (or similar)
100g butter, melted

For the cheescake
500g gooseberries, topped and tailed so that the little brown bits at each end are removed
10 freshly picked elderflower heads (or 2 dessertspoons Elderflower Cordial)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
strip of lemon zest (peeled using a veg peeler)
300ml double cream
250g mascarpone

Method
Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until crumbs or place in a large plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin.  Add the melted butter and stir until well combined.  Pour the mixture into a 23cm flan dish and press down well with a wooden spoon until level. Place in a fridge.

Gently shake any insects off the elderflower heads and place in a pan with the gooseberries, sugar and lemon peel.  Pour in a splash of water (you really do not need very much). Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer for about ten minutes until the gooseberries are soft and mushy. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, pushing through with a spoon to get all of the gooseberry goodness. Leave to cool.

Whip the double cream until softly peaked and stir in the mascarpone.  Stir in the gooseberry puree and pour over the biscuit base.  Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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Almond trifle

I actually made this trifle a few weeks ago, with the leftover cake from that first almond cake I made.  That particular cake was OK, but a bit dry and after a couple of days wasn’t particularly tempting.  The second one I made and posted about here was so delicious that I scoffed it all and so it didn’t make its way into a trifle.

Stale cake makes a great base for a trifle and so it was that I made this for a Sunday dessert. There was a little under half a cake left to use. I sliced it and spread it with strawberry jam and soaked it with Amaretto. Then made a custard and covered it with lashings of softly whipped cream and toasted almonds.  It was a very comforting end to dinner but I was asked where the jelly was.  Oh well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time… If you want a trifle that has a jelly layer I have posted one before here.

Leftover almond cake (or you could use sponge, pound or madeira cake)
4-5 tbsp strawberry jam
50ml  Amaretto (or you could use sherry)
For the custard layer:
300ml double cream
3 egg yolks
25g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
For the top layer:
300ml double cream
25g almonds

Method

Slice the almond cake and spread with the strawberry jam.  Lay in the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Sprinkle the amaretto all over the sponge.

To make the custard, whisk the egg yolks, the sugar and cornflour (cornstarch) together in a bowl.  Heat the cream until almost boiling.  Pour the hot cream slowly over the egg yolks, whisking all the time.  Return the mixture to the pan and place onto a gentle heat.  Stir all the time until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Take off the heat and keep stirring until it cools a little.  Leave to cool and then pour over the cake slices.  Cover with clingfilm so that it is on top of the custard to prevent a skin forming and place in the fridge.

About an hour before serving softly whip the cream and spoon onto the custard. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat (keep your eye on them as they can burn quickly) and then sprinkle over the cream.

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Lime and chocolate cheesecake

This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is hosted by Chele over at Chocolate Teapot and she decided that lime would be this month’s magic ingredient.  I had lots of ideas, including a lime flavoured chocolate cake with lime buttercream, (which sounds so delicious I think I might just make it yet), but yesterday was my turn to make Sunday lunch and I fancied making a cheesecake. I used a similar recipe to the successful cherry cheesecake Mr OC made not so long ago, but added plenty of grated rind and juice of lime.  The chocolate has taken a bit of a back seat just making a cameo appearance in the crust and a light grating on the top.  The reason for this is that my folks are not big fans of chocolate (how I manage to be their daughter I am not sure!).  But the presence of chocolate just about shines through.

This time I cooked the crumb base, but it is not really necessary.  I did it this time because I used Hob Nobs and I thought the oats might make a sort of flapjack base.  I was right.

This cheesecake is zingy and refreshing and makes a lovely end to a roast dinner.  You could say it is a light dessert, but that is then counteracted if you follow it up with a serving of apple crumble and then a serving of crème caramel – oops!  Oh well, it was a Sunday.

200g chocolate coated biscuits ( I used chocolate Hob Nobs)
100g butter, softened

400g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g icing sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
300ml double cream

To decorate – the finely grated rind of 1 lime and some finely grated chocolate

Method

Place the biscuits into a food processor and whizz until crumbs.  Add the butter and whizz again until well mixed. (If you don’t have a food processor then place the biscuits into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin or a can.  Melt the butter in a small pan and add the biscuit crumbs and mix well. )

Press the crumbs into a 20cm springform tin, making sure they are well pressed down.  Now you can leave it like this or you can bake it in a preheated oven at 180 °c, gas mark 4 for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.  Leave to go cold.

In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, icing  sugar and the rind and juice of 2 limes.  In another bowl lightly whip the double cream and then combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Spread this over the crumb base, levelling with a palette knife.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  When you are ready to serve grate over the rind of one more lime and a chunk of chocolate.

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Baked jam roly poly

I have wanted to make jam roly poly for ages but haven’t got round to it.  You can either steam it, wrapped in a cloth in a bain marie, or you can bake it like I did on Sunday.  I decided to bake it because it needs 3 hours of steaming and when I am cooking Sunday lunch I need all four ovens of my Aga available for action. The steaming pudding would have taken up quite a bit of my simmering oven.  Anyway,I prepared it early on and cooked it early and then kept it warm covered in foil in the warming oven.  I wouldn’t do this again though, it would have been better, I think, fresh out of the oven.  Oh well, I live and learn.

I made proper custard to go with it, and it was an enjoyable change to the sunday dessert menu. Next time, I will try steaming it and see which version I prefer.

I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe in the The River Cottage Year as a guide, but adapted it to be baked rather than steamed and because I had 200g of suet, not 250g as HFW’s recipe calls for.

You can make this vegetarian by using the vegetarian suet that is available. You can also try different fillings, maybe mincemeat, or syrup with raisins and sultanas and a bit of chopped apple (ooh that sounds good, I might do that next time).

My mum had made strawberry jam from the piles of summer strawberries in her freezer, so that was the obvious choice for me, but I wonder what a marmalade roly poly would be like?

200g (8oz) shredded suet
400g (16 oz) self raising flour
pinch of salt
about 200-250ml cold water

Jam or filling of your choice (I used about half a jar of strawberry jam)

Method

In a large bowl mix the suet, flour and salt together and pour in 200ml of water to begin with and mix to a stiff but manageable dough.  You may need to add more water to achieve this.

Flour a work surface.  Shape the dough into a square and then roll into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 cm thick.  Spread the jam or filling, leaving a good margin around the edge.  Brush the margin with a little water, then fold over the edges of the dough all around to seal in the filling.

Then roll from the short edge like a swiss roll, sealing with a little water.

Place on a baking tray seal-side down and place in a preheated oven at 180°c for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with custard.

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Lemon meringue

First, I apologise for the poor quality of this photo.  It was after Sunday dinner and I was serving nine people a choice of either baked apples or lemon meringue ( or both if you are Mr OC) and they were anxious to dig in.  I felt bad delaying them whilst I tried to get a decent shot.  So I gave up and took this one. It doesn’t do the pie justice at all.  A lemon meringue is a thing of beauty, a crumbly biscuit base, tangy lemon filling and pillowy meringue – heaven.

I always use Mary Berry’s recipe from her The Aga Book (published by Aga Rayburn) as it is completely fail-safe and makes a very good pie indeed. You can make a biscuit base  or you can do a sweet pastry base.  Both are good but I think biscuit may just have the slight advantage so this is the one I tell you about here. Now, because I always make this in my Aga I am going to concentrate on telling you this method and then tell you how Delia Smith cooks hers so that you can use this information for whatever oven you have.

These instructions are for a 23cm loose base metal flan tin

Biscuit base:

175g (6oz) digestive biscuits
50g (2oz) butter, softened
Mary Berry adds 45g (1½ oz) demerara sugar but I don’t think this is necessary so I omit it.

For the filling:

2 large or 3 small lemons
40g (1 ½ oz) cornflour
300ml (½ pint) water
3 egg yolks
75g (3oz) caster sugar

For the meringue:

3 egg whites
120g (4½ oz) caster sugar

Method

For the biscuit base, place the biscuits in a food processor and whizz to crumbs. Add the softened butter and whizz again until combined.  If you don’t have a food processor, then place the biscuits into a large plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin (or similarly heavy implement) until crumbs.  Place the crumbs into a bowl.  Melt the butter and add to the crumbs and mix well.

Place the crumb mixture into the flan dish and press down with the back of a spoon until   it covers the base evenly and goes slightly up the sides of the tin. Place the tin onto a baking sheet and place in the roasting oven of the Aga, or into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6, for 6 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to one side whilst you make the filling.

For the filling:

Pour the water into a pan and bring to the boil.  Place the finely grated zest and the juice of the lemons into a bowl and add the cornflour and stir to blend. Pour in the boiling water and mix well, then return the mixture back to the pan and heat until the mixture thickens. Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl and then add to the cornflour mixture and stir on the heat allowing it to bubble a few times.  Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little before pouring evenly over the biscuit base.

To make the meringue:

Beat the egg whites until forming stiff peaks and then add the sugar one spoonful at a time beating well after each addition.  You should have a thick glossy mixture when finished.  Spoon this over the top of the filling making little peaks, which will brown nicely and become crunchy, contrasting with the soft meringue underneath.

For the Aga, place the pie (still on the baking sheet) on the grid shelf positioned on the third set of runners of the roasting oven for 2-3 minutes until gently golden.  Transfer to the simmering oven for a further 15 minutes.  You can serve it warm or cold, it’s delicious either way.

For an ordinary oven Delia recommends preheating the oven to 150°c, gas mark two and cooking at this temperature for 45 minutes.

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Mocha Brownies – inspired by Choclette

I have said before how much I love Choclette’s blog about all things chocolate. Well the other week she posted a recipe for Almond Toffee Brownies and they sounded like they may well be the pinnacle of brownies. Today, I felt like making brownies and so I thought I would try her recipe.  Except that I can never really follow a recipe without feeling the need to mess about with it a bit.  So I haven’t yet discovered whether Choc’s recipe is the pinnacle of brownies, but I am sure it is.

My variation is pretty good, with a sugary crust and very moist brownie underneath.  Choclette normally uses duck eggs in her cooking and as my hens lay quite small eggs instead of 3 egg yolks I used 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg.  I cooked my brownies for longer too, I don’t know why this was necessary, maybe it’s my Aga or the different size tin – a mystery to me.

120g butter
50g plain chocolate
2 tsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
225g caster sugar
2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
110g ground almonds

Method

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl suspended over simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Add the coffee essence.

Whisk together the egg yolk and whole egg with the sugar until fluffy. Fold in the almonds and the chocolate mixture.  Pour into a greased 8 inch square tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or in the baking oven of the Aga for 20-25 minutes.  You want it nicely browned on top but still moist in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into squares and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Thank you Choclette for yet more inspiration.

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Waffles

A while back I was reading Nancy’s wonderful blog Good Food Matters and she was saying about the memories created by a waffle maker (check out the post, it really is lovely), now my own daughter had asked me about waffles that very week, asking me what they tasted like and whether  I could make her one.  I don’t own a waffle maker, and it is nigh on impossible to make a waffle without an iron.  My parents asked me what I would like for Christmas, so I asked for a waffle maker.  It was delivered to my door in October – a lovely early Christmas present.

Since then I have been experimenting with different recipes.  Some with whipped egg white, some without, some with buttermilk, some with plain milk. Anyway, I have found that whipping the egg whites does make the waffle a bit lighter, but it also requires another bowl and a bit more work. Buttermilk does add a lovely back note, but it means you have to make sure you have buttermilk in the house.  For these reasons here is the recipe I now use most often.

I haven’t stopped experimenting though and I intend to try yeast waffles soon, and chocolate waffles and buckwheat waffles (like Nancy’s).  I made potato waffles the other week, which were good but not perfect and so require a bit more experimentation before they appear here.

The waffle maker will not be a gadget that sits at the back of our cupboard any time soon and hopefully one day I will be able to write a post like Nancy’s.

200g plain flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp baking powder
200ml milk
squeeze of lemon juice
60g melted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Method

Put the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.  Measure the milk and add the squeeze of lemon juice. Pour the milk, melted butter, vanilla extract and eggs into the flour mixture and whisk well until combined.

Heat the waffle maker or iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour in the mixture and cook until well browned.

Eat warm with butter and maple syrup, or chocolate spread, or jam, or marmalade or anything else that you fancy.

They can also be frozen and warmed through by placing in a toaster or back into the waffle iron.

PS I forgot to say, but if you are looking for further waffle inspiration then check out Mangocheek’s wonderful suggestions for something a bit beyond the basic waffle.

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