Saturday, 15 December 2012

Pudim Ingles-steamed sherry sponge a Christmas alternative

Little and Large

With the winter wind battering at the door its time to re-visit culinary yesteryear and drum up a comforting old-fashioned steamed winter pudding.Here is a boozy pud that is one big Christmas treat that´s just for the adults.Using a comparatively local ingredient from just across the border - sherry - I have tried to re-create one of my mother´s classic sponge puddings for which the recipe has long since disappeared. With no one responding to my recent appeal on the Guardian word of mouth blog for a matching recipe I had to start from scratch.To put you in the picture, I need to return to the 50´s and conjure up some kitchen nostalgia.
My dear mother made full use of her pressure cooker. As a small child I used to drive her to near insanity by jumping up and down on the springy kitchen floor boards in order to pop the valve and cause that thrilling whooooooooosshhhhh and high pitched shrieking whistle as the steam let off.Not only that, I was always hanging around the kitchen like an expectant puppy in the hope that there would be a bowl of pudding batter that needed a finger dipping in it before it went to the sink to get washed up.

Not the recipe for Sherry Sponge Pudding that I was looking for.
Put two penny sponge-cakes into a buttered tart dish, pour over them a wineglassful of sherry, let them stand until the wine is absorbed. Boil half a pint of milk with two or three lumps of sugar, beat an egg up with it, pour it over the cakes, and bake in a slow oven until the custard is set, when turn out, and serve.
Cookery for Invalids: Persons of Delicate Digestion, and for Children by Mary Hooper, published in London in 1876.

Proper Sherry sponge pudding
with some quince jam
This quantity will make 6 x 200ml dariole or pudding moulds
or one 600ml pudding basin and 3 x 200ml pudding moulds.The choice is yours


Serves 6
200g butter at room temperature, plus extra for the moulds
200g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
150ml Pedro Ximenez or good quality Oloroso sherry
6 tbsp quince jam *
home made custard to serve

Butter 6 x 200ml pudding or dariole moulds
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.Beat the eggs,then slowly add them to the butter and sugar using an electric whisk or mixer.Sift the flour and baking powder together,then carefully fold into the egg,butter and sugar mix using a large metal spoon. Fold the ginger and 4 tablespoons of the sherry into the mix.
Mix the jam and the remaining sherry,then divide between the moulds.Spoon in the batter, filling the moulds two-thirds full. Fill another mould with any leftover mix. Cover each mould with a large square of foil with a pleat in the centre to allow room, as the sponges will rise a lot. Secure with string. Place the moulds in a baking or roasting dish, then fill the dish with water to come one-third up the side of the moulds. Bake for about 1 hr or until the sponges have risen and are cooked. If required the puds can now be cooled, then chilled. Reheat the same way they were cooked for 20 mins or until hot. To serve, remove the foil. Gently loosen the puddings with a knife and upturn them onto plates. Serve with homemade or bought custard.

*Quince jam recipe
Makes 2.5 kg (5 1/2 lb)
1 Kilo Quince, prepared weigh (2 1/4 lb)
1 Litre Water (1 3/4 pints)
1.5 Kilogram Sugar (3 1/4 lb)
Peel, core and slice the quinces and then weigh them. Put them in a pan with the water and simmer very gently until the fruit is really soft and mashed.Add the sugar, stir until it is dissolved and boil the mixture rapidly until the setting point is reached. Pot and cover the jam in the usual way.

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