Saturday, 20 October 2012

Eve Dunfillan's Pudding

" the pudding of my misty morning, bulging hedgerow, mellow fruited, Autumnal dreams..." 

Hmm…this week I’ve mostly been thinking about things that are greater than the sum of their parts: gin and tonic; bacon and eggs; ham and eggs; fish, chips and mushy peas; Wallace and Gromit; Cameron and Clegg. Ok so maybe that last one might not stand a great degree of scrutiny, but it is a truism, especially in the kitchen, that ingredients, which on their own might be nothing overly special, when combined can result in something transcendental.

What goes into beer? Water, yeast, hops and malted barley. I don’t know about you, I’ve never fancied a bowl of hops, but at the end of the brewing process…what can I say, we all know what a good beer can do for you.

Although you might disagree, I'd say you get the same effect combining those two Autumnal fruits, the Bramley apple and the blackberry. Divided they are weak, but together they are strong, together they make the pudding of my misty morning, bulging hedgerow, mellow fruited, Autumnal dreams!

Alright so that’s enough of the guff. You'll have have heard of Eve’s pudding, which is a traditional English dessert of stewed apples, topped with a sponge mixture and then baked in the oven. But you might not know of its dour Scottish counterpart, Dunfillan’s pudding, where the apple is replaced with blackberries.

Both fine desserts in their own right, but combine the two and you have Eve Dunfillan’s pudding, which is about as fine an Autumnal dessert as you could wish for, and one of my own invention! 

Admittedly it didn’t require a huge amount of imagination to combine the two, especially as blackberry and apple crumble is just about my favourite dessert of all time. No matter though, because it is delicious and it’s all mine (and now yours).

The recipe isn’t too taxing and would be ideal after a traditional Sunday lunch, providing you leave enough room after your roast beef.

Eve Dunfillan’s Pudding

(serves 6)

400g blackberries
5-6 large Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Approx. 50g sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (keep the zest for the sponge mix)

150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
150g butter, softened and cut into cubes
3 eggs, lightly whisked together
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Demerara sugar and flaked almonds to decorate (optional)

You’ll also need a large baking dish, at least 25cm x 25cm, and to heat the oven to 180c

1.   Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan over a low heat and leave for 8-10 minutes. The idea here is to start off the cooking process, so that the apples begin to break down and the juices run from the blackberries. But don’t let it turn into a complete mush. The apples should retain some texture
2.   I’ve been quite conservative with the amount of sugar to add, so make sure you taste and if the fruit is too tart add some more.
3.   While the fruit is cooking you can turn your attention to the sponge mixture. Cream together the butter and sugar until it is pale, light and fluffy. It is much easier to do this with machinery, but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease will do.
4.   Then whisk in the eggs, starting off with a small amount and then increasing as you go on. If you are worried about the mixture splitting, add a small amount of the flour with each spoonful of the egg.
5.   Now fold in the remaining flour, the lemon zest and the vanilla extract.
6.   Spoon the fruit into your baking dish, level out, and then pour over the sponge mixture. The mixture should be thick, but not too stiff to pour over the fruit, so you can thin it down with a little milk.
7.   Now place the pudding in the oven on a medium shelf and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the sponge is golden brown and cooked through. If you are decorating it with the almonds and sugar add these 20 minutes after putting the pudding into the oven.

There you have it, Eve Dunfillan’s Pudding, a superb dessert for your Sunday lunch and perfect for this time of year. Serve with the creamy substance of your choice – double cream, crème fraiche, ice-cream or Greek yoghurt will all do a fine job.

p.s. it has just occurred to me that given this is the week when the referendum on Scottish independence was officially announced, Eve Dunfillan's could become the official pudding of the no campaign - symbolic of the strength of the union! 

"Better Eve Dunfillan's with Cameron today, than humble pie under Salmond tomorrow"

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