Michelle Darmody: Proof that puddings are for all year around

Baked sponge puddings are a hot, sticky treat — bread pudding with sour cherries and chocolate is delicious
Michelle Darmody: Proof that puddings are for all year around

Sponge puddings are delicious all year round

As the evenings get nippier a warm dessert becomes a real treat. Sponge puddings are hot and often sticky and will warm you up inside. There are many varieties of hot puddings — from the rich and dense traditional ones we eat at Christmas to lighter summer puddings. I enjoy steamed puddings but find that I rarely have time to make them. Besides, the kitchen can get very steamed up if you make a large one and have to simmer it for hours.

These are baked alternatives.

This first is a good recipe for using up leftover bread, and perhaps using milk if you have too much. Sour cherries have their own particular flavour and can be found in most health food stores or in some larger supermarkets. There is a pleasant acidity to their taste that lends them really well to sweet baking. They are slightly smaller in size than the more standard sweet cherry. If you are lucky enough to come across some fresh ones snap them up Their season is fleeting and they can be hard to come by. The dried variety do tend to hold their shape quite well in baking and are a good alternative.

By contrast, the pear is sweet and subtle in its flavour. Leaving the sticky juice in the dish before adding the batter really adds to this pudding.

Bread pudding with sour cherries and chocolate

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

This is the perfect way to use up old bread

Bread pudding with sour cherries and chocolate

Servings

8

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

35 mins

Total Time

45 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 3 tbsp light muscovado sugar

  • 260ml milk

  • 290ml cream

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • the zest of 2 oranges

  • 8 slices of old bread, crusts removed

  • 50g butter

  • 80g dried sour cherries

  • 50g dark chocolate, broken into small even pieces

Method

  1. Rub butter on the inside of an 8 by 10 inch ovenproof dish. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together and set aside.

  3. Pour the milk, cream and vanilla into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to 'shivering' over a low heat, just before it boils. Set aside for two or three minutes, then whisk it into the egg mixture. Pour everything back into the saucepan and whisk continually as you heat it up and it thickens slightly. Stir in the orange zest.

  4. Butter all of the bread slices on each side and cut each slice into four. Place a layer of bread into the dish, sprinkle with cherries and chocolate, repeat. Pour three quarters of the custard mix over the layered bread. Add the final layer of bread and pour the remaining custard over it. Set aside to allow the bread to soak up the custard.

  5. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Sprinkle a little extra sugar over the top of the pudding if you wish. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden and bubbling.

  6. Serve warm.

Mini puddings with nuts and apple

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Cosy flavours abound in these yummy little puddings

Mini puddings with nuts and apple

Servings

8

Cooking Time

30 mins

Total Time

30 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 170g soft butter

  • 200g golden caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 280g self-raising flour

  • the zest of 2 oranges

  • 4 tbsp milk

  • 2 small apples, roughly grated

  • 40g mixed nuts, chopped

  • 20g golden raisins

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C and lightly butter four small ovenproof dishes and set them aside.

  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly adding the egg and combine them well. Add the flour, and zest and then the milk.

  3. Squeeze the grated apple to remove and excess juice. Toss the apple in the maple syrup, raisins and nuts. Scoop this mixture between your butter pots.

  4. Scoop the sponge in on top.

  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden on top and the sponge is baked through.

  6. These can be eaten warm from the dishes they were baked in.

Warm pear sponge pudding

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Best served warm with whipped cream, this is an extremely comforting dessert

Warm pear sponge pudding

Servings

10

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

50 mins

Total Time

60 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 4 pears, cored and sliced

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

  • 3 tbsp honey

  • 250g soft butter 

  • 200g golden caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 250g self-raising flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder, sieved

Method

  1. Pre heat your oven to 180°C.

  2. Toss the pears in the honey and syrup in an ovenproof dish of around 8 by 10 inches.

  3. Place the dish into the oven and roast the pears for about 10 to 15 minutes: they should be softening but still have some bite. Remove the pears from the dish but leave the sticky juice at the bottom.

  4. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs and vanilla making sure to scrape the sides a few times. Add in the flour and baking powder until combined.

  5. Scoop the sponge mixture gently on top of the syrup. Bake for about 35 minutes until a skewer comes out of the sponge clean.

  6. Dot the pears on top of the sponge and serve warm.

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