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More cake today. This time with fruit which totally makes it healthy. And with big gooey pockets of custard which makes it more healthy. Custard’s good for you right? Lots of calcium, good for strong bones. Ahem. The idea for this cake has been kicking around for a while now going through various transformations in my head before it ever even hit the mixing bowl. The first seed of inspiration came from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet, an encyclopaedia of all things good, which has a recipe for apple and walnut cake dotted with custard. I pinched the custard element and reduced the sugar since his recipes always turn out too sweet for my tastes. The cake is a basic sponge made with both caster and soft brown sugar for a caramel depth and spiced with nutmeg, the traditional and perfect flavour pairing for creamy custard and a good match with plums. (more…)

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Some things just don’t translate well between cultures. What may seem perfectly normal to one country is perfectly foreign to another. Take twinkies for example. Despite them cropping up in so many American films and shows, I had no idea what one actually was until I visited the States a few years ago. Likewise, my concept of pudding is vast oceans away from the beloved stateside treat. I tend to use ‘pudding’ as a generic term for dessert; any good country pub will have a ‘pudding board’ displaying the day’s dessert choices. I even went on a ‘pudding crawl’ for my birthday once, hopping (which eventually turned into waddling) between restaurants ordering only sweets.

But lo and behold, to our American friends pudding is a homely concoction of milk, sugar and cornflour with the occasional egg thrown in for good measure. Sort of like a light set custard. I owe this discovery to the wonderful Deb at Smitten Kitchen who has recipes for several flavours of pudding including this unctuous vanilla version. Of course I could resist fiddling with the recipe by adding a spiced plum compote topping.  I decided not to add sugar the compote, the tartness works very well paired with the sweet milky pudding. Delicious! I recommend doubling the quantity of the compote and eating the leftovers stirred into porridge for breakfast.

Let’s hear it for intercultural understanding by means of dessert! Woop!

Spiced plum compote

(Makes enough to top 6 portions of pudding)

  • 3 ripe plums
  • 50ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground all spice

Remove the stones from the plums and cut in to small (1cm) pieces. Place in a small pan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.

Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 20 mins until the fruit is soft and the liquid is syrupy.

Leave to cool and spoon over the vanilla pudding.

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