Cakes & Bakes: Almond and blueberry sponge pudding

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard | H is for Home

I’ve had a slow-cooker for ages and, like most people, don’t make use of it nearly enough. It sits lonely in my kitchenette waiting patiently for its opportunity to shine. Last week, I saw a slow-cooker recipe for a cherry Bakewell pudding and decided to convert it into and almond and blueberry sponge pudding.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding components | H is for Home

It’s a real no fuss, straightforward recipe. I swapped cherries for blueberries; however raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants would work just as well.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ready to be steamed | H is for Home

I highly recommend these reusable silicone pot covers as a green alternative to cling film. They come in six graduated sizes from 3-8 inches so fit containers ranging from ramekins to medium-sized mixing bowls. I use them all the time for storing food in the fridge and heating things in the microwave. I’ve now discovered that they’re perfect as a slow-steaming pudding lid!

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding in a slow cooker | H is for Home

If like me you like a bit of a crispy texture, you can stick the pudding under the grill for a couple of minutes at the end of its cooking time.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding browned under a grill | H is for Home

We served our almond and blueberry sponge pudding with custard. The flavour combination of almond sponge and vanilla custard with a touch of fruity sharpness from the blueberries is a real winner.

Home-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest!

Almond and blueberry sponge pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 150g/5¼oz blueberries, frozen and thawed
  2. 115g/4oz sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
  3. 110g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ½ tsp almond extract
  6. 75g/2⅔oz self-raising flour
  7. 75g/2⅔oz ground almonds
  8. 2 tbsp milkHome-made almond and blueberry sponge pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Grease a 1.2-litre pudding basin, including the lid if it has one In a small saucepan, heat the blueberrries and the 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the fruit begins to burst and the juice is released. Remove from the heat before the fruit collapses. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the remaining sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is loose and airy
  4. Add the almond extract and combine
  5. Fold in the flour and ground almonds
  6. Add in the milk and combine gently. The batter should have a light texture
  7. Put 100g of the blueberries in the bottom of the basin and pour the batter over the top of them. It won't fill the basin, but don't worry as this will give it space to expand as it cooks. Reserve the remaining cherries until later
  8. Cover the basin securely with the lid and set it into the slow-cooker crock
  9. Pour boiling water into the crock to come halfway up the side of the basin
  10. Put the lid on the slow cooker and steam on high for about 4 hours. It will rise, becoming a light, fluffy sponge
  11. Turn the pudding out onto a plate, piling the reserved cherries on top, and allow the blueberry juice to drizzle down the sides of the pudding before spooning into servings
Notes
  1. Serve warm with hot custard
Print
Adapted from Slow Cooked
Adapted from Slow Cooked
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

 

Cakes & Bakes: St Stephen’s pudding

Home-made St Stephen's pudding with custard | H is for Home #recipe #Christmas #pudding #steamedpudding

If Christmas pudding is too rich or stodgy for your taste, we have a delicious alternative for you to try – St Stephen’s pudding.

Home-made St Stephen's pudding mixture | H is for Home

It’s also a whole lot quicker to prepare than Christmas pudding. There’s no soaking of fruit in alcohol overnight or resting it before steaming. And besides, Stir up Sunday was last week and I’ve missed it!

Home-made St Stephen's pudding mixture in a pudding bowl | H is for Home

As the name suggests, St Stephen’s pudding is eaten on the “Feast of Stephen” – Boxing Day. Apparently, it was eaten at St John’s College, Cambridge on this day. I’ve only managed to find mention of this pudding on Delia’s website and the Cooking with the Saints cookbook. There’s also fleeting mention of the dish in The Ordinary, a 17th century play by William Cartwright where the character, Slicer utters, “Let the Corporal Come sweating under a breast of mutton stuff’d With pudding”.

Pudding bowl with parchment and foil lid | H is for Home Cooked home-made St Stephen's pudding in a steamer | H is for Home

I combined all the ingredients, pressed the mixture into a pudding bowl and secured the lid before putting it in the fridge to cook the following day. There’s no reason why it couldn’t stay in the fridge for up to a week before whipping it out for its 2-hour steam.

Home-made St Stephen's pudding | H is for Home #recipe #Christmas #pudding #steamedpudding

When I prepared it, I followed Delia’s recipe to the letter. However, if I was going to make this again (and I probably will) I’d add an extra 25 grams of sugar and only include the zest of half a lemon.

Save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

St Stephen's pudding
Serves 4
Cook Time
2 hr
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 110g/4oz white breadcrumbs
  2. 50g/2oz self-raising flour, sifted
  3. 50g/2oz light brown soft sugar
  4. 75g/3oz shredded suet
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 110g/4oz seedless raisins
  7. 2 medium Bramley cooking apples, peeled & grated
  8. grated zest of 1 lemon
  9. 3tbsp milk
  10. 1 large eggHome-made St Stephens pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, suet and salt
  2. Add the raisins, grated apples and grated lemon zest
  3. Stir thoroughly to combine well
  4. Beat the egg into the milk and stir into the mixture
  5. Pack the mixture into a well-greased pudding basin
  6. Cover the basin tightly with a sheet of baking parchment, then with a sheet of foil, make a pleat in the centre and secure with string
  7. Boil a kettle and pour the boiling water into a saucepan, about half full, place it on a medium heat and, when it comes back to the boil, fit a steamer over the top
  8. Steam the pudding for 2 hours, checking every so often that the water in the saucepan hasn't all evaporated away
  9. Remove the sheets of foil & baking parchment. Place an upturned plate on the top, quickly flip over and carefully lift off the pudding bowl
Notes
  1. Serve with custard or rum butter
Print
Adapted from Delia Online
Adapted from Delia Online
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Apple and sultana crumble

Home-made apple and sultana crumble | H is for Home

When I was buying ingredients for last week’s apple and raisin puff pastry tart I needed two cooking apples. However, the Bramley apples in the supermarket were being sold in packs of four. I’m making an apple and sultana crumble this week to use up the two that were left over.

Chopped apples, demerara sugar and sultanas in a saucepan | H is for Home

I may have mentioned before that fruit crumble isn’t one of Justin’s favoured puddings – he thinks the crumble topping is too often soggy, floury and not very nice – especially if too thick or a bit undercooked.

Crumble ingredients | H is for Home Crumble ingredients combined | H is for Home

I think my crumble topping recipe is none of those things; it forms large, crunchy, nutty morsels.

Home-made apple and sultana crumble prior to going into the oven | H is for Home

Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of it just before it goes into the oven for extra sweetness and crunch. You can serve it with thick, cold cream, hot creamy custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – they’re all good!

Home-made apple and sultana crumble with little bottle of pouring cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and sultana crumble
Serves 4
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the fruit filling
  1. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples, peeled, cored & roughly chopped
  2. 25g/¾oz butter
  3. 100g/3½oz sultanas
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
For the crumble topping
  1. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz porridge oats
  3. 50g/1¾oz flaked almonds
  4. 50g/1¾oz Demerara sugar
  5. 75g/2⅔oz cold butter, cubedHome-made apple and sultana crumble ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, melt the 25g of butter
  3. Add the chopped apples, sultanas and Demerara sugar and stir until the apples are just beginning to soften (about 5-10 minutes)
  4. Put the mixture into a greased baking/pie dish
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, almonds and Demerara sugar
  6. Add the cold, cubed butter and rub into the dry ingredients - but not to much - you want the mixture to have quite large lumps
  7. Spoon the crumble evenly over the apple and sultana mixture so that it's completely covered
  8. Sprinkle a little golden granulated sugar over the top for added crunch (optional)
  9. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crumble topping turns a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with custard, thick pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Plum pie

Slice of home-made plum pie | H is for Home

British Pie Week has rolled around once again – an annual event in which we enjoy getting involved in wholeheartedly!

Cubed butter, and flour in a food processor next to a bowl of plums | H is for Home

I use the week as an opportunity to make a kind of pie that I’ve never made before. This year it’s a home-made plum pie.

Making a sweet crust pie base | H is for Home

I used one of my favourite sweet pastry recipes that I borrow from Dorie Greenspan, pairing it with a James Martin spiced plum filling recipe from in a 2008 copy of BBC Good Food Magazine.

Cooking plums | H is for Home

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of cloves, but it works amazingly well with the plums.

Uncooked plum pie | H is for Home Cooked plum pie | H is for Home

A drizzle of pouring cream or ladle-ful of custard over the top or on the side… a perfect cold weather pudding!

Home-made plum pie with serving spoon | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made plum pie recipe | H is for Home #BritishPieWeek #pie #recipe #plums

Plum pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 750g/oz ripe plums stoned & thickly sliced
  2. 140g/oz golden caster sugar, plus extra
  3. ½tsp ground cloves
  4. 1 heaped tbsp cornflourHome-made plum pie ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Put the plums, sugar and ground cloves in a pan
  2. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the plums are juicy (8-10 minutes)
  3. Combine the cornflour with a little of the syrup, then mix well into the fruit
  4. Boil for another few minutes, stirring until thickened
  5. Allow to cool completely
  6. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  7. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little beaten egg
  8. Make a slit in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape
  9. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through the slit in the crust
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing & serving
Notes
  1. Serve with pouring cream or hot custard
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Blueberry pie

Slice of home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

It’s been almost six months since I last posted a pie recipe on Cakes & Bakes. I’ve righted that wrong this week with a blueberry pie.

Blueberry pie pastry dough | H is for Home Uncooked blueberry pie pastry case | H is for Home

Blueberries, sugar & spice | H is for Home

My recipe is a hodgepodge of three others. The blueberry pie filling is from my vintage 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, Dinner for Two; the sweet pastry is from Dorie Granspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and the crème anglaise is from that catering college staple, Ceserani & Kinton’s Practical Cookery.

Blueberry pie pastry case and sugared blueberries | H is for Home

Much as I enjoyed this bake, if I were to make another blueberry pie, I’d do it a little differently.

Home-made blueberry pie and lid | H is for Home

Firstly, the blueberry pie filling was WAY too sweet for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn’t have tasted so sweet if the pastry I’d used had been just a plain shortcrust.

Uncooked home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Secondly, the filling recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon; Justin liked it, but it just didn’t work for me.

Crème Anglaise ingredients | H is for Home

Thirdly (and lastly), I had my first slice with crème anglaise and my second (not straight after, obviously 🙂 ) with double cream. I much preferred the latter version.

Home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Perhaps I’ll test my 3rd portion with vanilla ice cream – all in the name of research on behalf of our readers, of course!

Blueberry pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  2. 30g/1oz plain flour
  3. ½tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 375g/13oz blueberries
  5. 2 tbs butter
For the crème anglaise
  1. 300ml/½pt milk
  2. 25g/1oz caster sugar
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 2-3 drops vanilla extract (I used ¼tsp vanilla bean paste)Home-made blueberry pie ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon
  2. Stir in the blueberries
  3. Turn into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter
  4. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  5. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little milk
  6. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through slits in the crust
For the crème anglaise
  1. Boil the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Allow to cool a little
  2. Mix yolks, sugar and vanilla in a basin before adding to the milk
  3. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the desired thickness. Do NOT boil
  4. Pass through a fine sieve into a serving jug
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes : Bakes: Crème caramel

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Home-made heart shaped crème caramel | H is for Home #recipe #cremecaramel #caramel

I got, not one but two, pressure cookers in a mixed lot at auction last week. I’d been after one for a while – it’s a piece of kit that was always being used in my parents’ (and my friends’ parents’) kitchen.

Small Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins in the pressure cooker

I haven’t used one in decades. They’re superb for cooking bean, pulse and rice dishes in particular…

Caramel poured into moulds

…but this is a ‘Cakes & Bakes‘ post, so a more suitable dish was required. I spent last night looking at all manner of pressure cooker recipes and decided on crème caramel.

Making custard for crème caramel

Probably not something you’d immediately think of making in a pressure cooker – but it appeared quite straightforward, so ideal for me to reacquaint myself with the hissing and steaming beast.

tin foil covered heart-shaped ramekins in a pressure cooker

The results were actually delicious!

Crème caramel
For the caramel
  1. 100g sugar
For the custard
  1. 250ml/½pt whole milk
  2. 3 eggs, 2 whole plus one yolk
  3. ½tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 125g sugarHome-made crème caramel ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. In your widest sauté pan, add the sugar and turn the flame to high and wait. DO NOT STIR - at most, pick up the pan and swish it around to make sure the sugar is evenly melted in the caramel
  2. As soon as almost all of the sugar has turned to caramel turn off the heat
  3. Hold the mould with your oven-mitt-covered hand, or some other protection that will not limit your dexterity yet protect your hand form the hot scalding sugar. With the other hand, pour a little caramel in the bottom and then swirl it around covering the mould internally and on the sides as much as you can
To make the custard
  1. Infuse the milk with the vanilla extract to almost boiling and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. You can do this stage using a large glass measuring jug in the microwave or medium-sized saucepan on the stove-top
  2. In another large measuring jug, whisk the eggs & extra yolk with the sugar
  3. Pour the cooled milk into the egg mixture. Combine well - the resulting consistency will be very liquid
  4. Pour the milk & egg mixture into the caramelized moulds leaving 1 cm/½" space from the top
  5. Cover the moulds tightly with tin foil
  6. Prepare the pressure cooker by adding a couple of cups of water and the cooking rack
  7. Fill the pressure cooker with as many of the filled moulds as possible that will stay level (my cooker only fit 2 of the Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins at a time). Close and lock the pressure cooker top, turn the heat to high and when it reaches pressure, turn the flame down to minimum
  8. Count 5-8 minutes cooking time (time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the container(s) used)
  9. When time is up, turn off the heat and don't do anything wait for the pressure to come down naturally. If after 10 minutes all of the pressure hasn't released, relieve the rest of the pressure with the pressure valve. For electric pressure cookers, disengage the 'Keep Warm' setting when cooking time is up and turn off or unplug the pressure cooker
  10. When time is up, open the top and check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle of one of the crèmes. If it comes out dirty, simply place the pressure cooker cover back on and wait another 5 minutes - the residual heat from the pressure cooker will keep cooking them. If the crème caramels are still liquid, cook under pressure and additional 5 minutes
  11. Let the crème caramels cool outside the pan for about an hour before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. If you need to do another batch, remember to add more water in your pressure cooker!
  12. To serve, simply turn each mould upside-down onto separate dessert dishes. If a crème caramel doesn't release on its own, insert a flat knife and run it carefully along the sides. Then, on one side pull the knife a little towards the centre to break the suction
  13. Replace the dessert plate on top of the mould and flip it over quickly
Print
Adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/