Monday 27 July 2009

Pudding, Parties and Plate Smashers

I may have mentioned once or twice that E’s favourite dessert is treacle pudding with custard. We had a similar version when I was young that I loved but my mum put jam in the bottom of the pudding dish rather than syrup. She recently told me that the ingredients are the same as for apricot sponge but with jam instead of apricots. We always called it steamed pudding but I have also seen it called college pudding.

I loved steamed puddings but it does take a considerable amount of time and some foutering about. Last year I tried making treacle pudding in the microwave but, as I mentioned in my previous post, I make things once and then when I go to revisit them months or years later, I can’t find the recipe. I did however find my photo (below). And a similar microwave pudding recipe can be found here. Mine was a bit dry so I felt it needed work and I am determined to try it again – I just feel it is an unnecessary luxury to make puddings over and over.

Meanwhile, I was interested to find a baked treacle pudding recipe while browsing magazines in the library. It seemed easier than steaming so I thought I would give it a whirl. These puddings were good but there were too problems – the neighbours and the duplicity of the food photography in glossy magazines.

It is probably a couple of months since I made this and yet the night is still crystal clear in my memory. A Saturday that found us having a quite night at home in front of the television (as usual). Unfortunately our neighbours had decided it was party night.

On one side of us we had the hoons holding a 21st party, booming out retro classics that I remember being hits in their first journey round the charts (Abba, Gloria Gaynor, Village Men). That made me feel old. On the other side were the Greek neighbours who started quietly and got louder and louder. We could hear them dancing, yelling ‘opa’ and smashing plates. If we looked out the window we could even see heads bobbing up and down.

It reminded me of a party I attended as a student when the next door neighbour came over to join in and kept saying, ‘the neighbours are complaining, turn the music up.’ (I think I am telling you this to show that I once was the one partying instead of next door with my hands over my ears.) Only we wanted the music turned down from ear-bleedingly loud to a mere roar. Unexpectedly, it was the younger crowd who turned their music off first.

Add a crying baby into the mix, a cat trying to climb into the pram, and this was not the best night to indulge in pudding covered in custard. The stress was not even eased by watching our favourite British police show, the Bill. In fact the Bill has some of E’s favourite cockney phrases that would have been quite useful that night - ‘leave it out, guv’, ‘shut it, you slag’ and ‘he’s dun a runner’! Fortunately, we had leftovers for the following night which was enjoyed in a much more relaxed fashion.

So while I am having a whinge about the evening, I will share my gripe about pudding pictures. The photo in Delicious Magazine showed gooey berry syrup cascading down the side of the pudding. That is my image of treacle pudding. However, whenever I have made treacle pudding, the syrup soaks into the pudding. It happened when I made the microwave pudding, the steamed strawberry pudding and this treacle ginger and berry pudding. So the picture left me a wee bit disappointed.

Outrageously loud parties and misleading pictures aside, the pudding was delicious. It was soft, sweet and warmly spiced. The custard was made while trying to calm Sylvia and consequently was a little lumpier than usual but we still covered the pudding with it. I am not sure that the berries made much impact – although I used raspberries rather than blackberries, which might have made a difference. I also didn’t have stem ginger so used ground spices. I loved baking the pudding in the ramekins. It was simpler than steaming, looked pretty and was easy to store leftovers. In fact, I imagine they would freezer in ramekins. I loved these puddings and hope to try them again in peace and quiet.

Baked Treacle, Ginger and Berry Pudding
(from Delicious Magazine Dec 07/Jan 08)
serves 4

100g unsalted butter
½ cup castor sugar
2 eggs
⅔ cup self raising flour
grated zest of 1 orange
4 pieces of stem ginger (I used a mix of ground ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice)
4 tbsp golden syrup
12 plump blackberries (I used raspberries)
Custard or cream to serve

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease 4 ramekins. Cut out circles of baking paper to line the bottom of each ramekin. Place a tablespoon of golden syrup and sprinkle berries on top of the syrup.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in flour, zest and spices.

Divide batter among the ramekins. Cover each ramekin loosely with a piece of greased foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly. Turn ramekins out into dessert bowls and serve with cream or custard.

On the stereo:
Down Colourful Hill: Red House Painters


  1. Can you believe that I've never tried a treacle pudding? Obviously I need to after seeing that picture! :)

  2. Ohh yum you can't beat a bit of sponge pudding (any pudding) and custard! Not tried putting fruit in the bottom before, will have to try it!

  3. I am SO impressed that you were able to make such gorgeous puddings amidst the chaos! I would have been holding my hands over my ears too - I think I've lost my taste for loud parties as well... :-) I much prefer puddings! :-) Yours is positively beautiful! I can't wait to try it, and the terrific microwave idea too!

  4. Wow, this pudding sounds and looks so yummie...with all the spices that you add with the raspberries...with the custard on top...delicious!

  5. I love golden syrup so this pudding should be a winner for me. :D

    Oh I received your email, too. I have re-edited the layout of the blog. Hopefully the problem is gone.

  6. I've made this pudding! A friend made it for dessert one night when we went over for dinner and I loved it so much I made it next time I had guests for dinner. The stem ginger really gives it that something extra!

  7. YUM! this looks delicious! thanks for telling us about it and I can't wait to try it out.

  8. Thanks Lorraine - I had never had treacle pudding til I met E.

    Thanks Katie - I think I prefer fruit at the bottom of a pudding like apricot sponge than treacle pudding

    Thanks Astra - making pudding that night was a challenge and I did wonder if it was worth it - but we love a good winter pud

    Thanks Juliana - have to have custard on top in this house!

    Thanks Anh - I am a big fan of golden syrup - but was surprised that treacle pudding doesn't necessarily have treacle in it - will try and comment again soon

    Thanks Katie - must try it with stem ginger

    Thanks Frances - hope you enjoy!

  9. I have memories of similar evenings with extra-loud neighbors--and yes, I guess at some time in my life, I WAS that same neighbor, too! The pudding looks great, drippy sauce or not. The custard topping alone would make it worthwhile!

  10. Every treacle pudding I've ever made or been fed (and I've had a few, English grandparents, wot wot) had the treacle or golden syrup soaked into the pud. I think the pros put extra syrup on afterwards, but you really don't need it. The soaked in bit was always my favourite. :D

  11. What a nightmare - I loathe loud music (I would also be the one with my hands over my ears. In fact I've been that person even when the party is in my own house!). I'm glad that the pudding at least partly made up for it. I tried making a sticky toffee cake which was very nice. I'll have to make it again as I never got photos of it. I found the recipe on the internet somewhere if you want to take a 'spirit of pudding' route!

  12. Thanks Ricki - the custard is fine consolation for no rivers of sauce

    Thanks Sarah - I love the soaked in bit too - I think I just expect syrup running down the sides when you see it in a magazine and never grew up with such puddings!

    Thanks Lysy - I love sticky toffee pudding - not taking a photo is an excellent excuse to make it again! But then who needs excuses for puddings (except to console self about noisy neighbours)

  13. I love the custard all over the top!! Yummm.


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