Queen of Puddings, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Fudge Pudding, College Pudding, Christmas Pudding, Treacle Tart – even the names conjure up pictures of sweet indulgence. With your hunger already assuaged by the previous courses, the only real justification of eating pudding is pleasure. And a memorable pleasure too: the chances are that any childhood memory of a delicious meal is going to feature pudding.
Chocolate Fudge Pudding
This is the magical recipe where the sauce is poured over the sponge mixture, the pudding is baked an – to my endless astonishment – the sauce is underneath and the sponge is on the top.
For the Pudding:
110g (4oz) Butter
110g (4oz) Caster sugar
175g (6oz) Self-raising flour
2 Level tablespoons of cocoa
A little warm milk if necessary
For the Chocolate Base:
300ml (1/2 pint) Water
75g (3oz) Brown Sugar
3 Level tablespoons cocoa
Preheat oven to 180°C, 350°F, or gas mark 4. Butter an ovenproof dish, approximately 10cm (4in) deep and 20 x 23cm (8x9in) in diameter. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, adding one spoon of the flour with each egg. Fold in the remaining flour and cocoa, sifted together. If the mixture seems too stiff, fold in a little milk until it is a suitable mixture to spread in the dish.
Gently heat the water, brown sugar and cocoa in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles a thinnish sauce. Pour the sauce over the pudding mixture and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the top is crisp and brown.
Serve warm. The pudding will have risen through the sauce, combining a rich, dark, moist base with a crisp top. For total indulgence serve with extra pouring cream.
Baked Rice Pudding
For, me the best part of a rice pudding is the golden skin that forms on the top as it cooks slowly, so slowly in the oven. You can’t hurry a baked rice pudding; best make the other pudding here if time is short. This recipe is based on one from 1685.
50g (2oz) Raisins
2 Tablespoons brandy (optional)
50g (2oz) Butter
50g (2oz) Caster Sugar
110g (4oz) Pudding or short-grain rice
700ml (1 1/4 pints) full-cream milk
300ml (½ pint) single cream
1 Vanilla Pod
Thinly sliced zest of 1 lemon
Freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 160°C, 325°F, or gas mark 3. Soak the raisins in the brandy while you are preparing the pudding. This part of the recipe is optional; you can stir in the raisins straight from the packet if you prefer.
Melt the butter in a pan and dissolve the sugar in it. Add the rice and boil up until the mixture is golden and bubbly. Pour on the milk and cream and heat gently. Split the vanilla pod. Add to the mixture with the lemon zest and stir well until just boiling. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins (and the brandy, if using) and pour into a shallow earthenware dish. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. Bake for 2 hours. By this time, the mixture should be almost set and there will be a golden skin on the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Queen of Puddings
75g (3oz) Fresh white breadcrumbs
600ml (1 pint) full cream milk
175g (6oz) Caster Sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
3 Eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 180°C, 350°F, or gas mark 4. Butter generously either a 1.2 litre (2 pint) shallow ovenproof dish or 6 ramekins. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs in the bottom of the dish or dishes.
Put the milk, butter and lemon zest in a pan and bring slowly to the boil. While it is heating, whisk the egg yolks and 50g (2oz) of the sugar in a bowl until they are pale and thick. Take the milk off the heat, let it cool a little, and then whisk in the egg yolks. Strain the custard over the breadcrumbs and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Stand the dish or dishes in a roasting tin and fill with water halfway up the dish or dishes. Bake in the oven until set. This will take about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Turn the oven temperature down to 150°C, 300°F, gas mark 2. Warm the jam and spread over the top of the pudding(s).
Whisk the egg whites until very stiff, the whisk in the remaining sugar, a little at a time. Pile the meringue mixture on top of the jam. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar and bake for a further 15 minutes until the meringue topping is crisp and lightly browned.