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Comfort Food #3: Sponge Pudding

23 May

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Nothing screams comfort food quite like a lovely hot dessert – and when it’s a sponge pudding smothered in custard, so much the better!

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A steamed or baked dome shaped sponge pudding served with custard, cream, or crème Anglaise is an unbeatable classic. Even the most health conscious among us would find it hard to resist. In our house, when we were growing up there was no such thing as resistance to a fluffy sponge pudding as it was very much a firm favourite with our family. It didn’t matter if it was shop bought or one of Mum’s lovely homemade ones; we couldn’t wait to dig in. We knew that Dad would always ask for seconds and that no amount of custard would ever be enough for him!

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One of the great things about the sponge pudding is that with so many variations of it, you can have a sponge pudding every day of the week and still never get bored. You can try making them using different flavoured sponges topped with fruity jams; rich chocolate or toffee sauces; thick golden syrup or yummy fruit (if you want to feel as though you’re being super healthy!) You can even add fresh or dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips to the sponge mix to add texture and make it even more delicious. The only limit is your imagination.

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I’m so glad I grew up in England where I was brought up on such fare. During my time in the States I was disappointed that no one seemed to understand what I meant by a sponge pudding as ‘pudding’ in America is something very similar to Angel Delight – and as delicious as that is, that’s not quite what I wanted! Now I’m back in England, I can pig out to my heart’s content. My absolute favourite? Eve’s Pudding. Gorgeous!

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Here’s a recipe for a classic jam sponge pudding by Janet Smith. Enjoy!

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If you haven’t got a steamer, improvise with a large pan filled with about 5cm of water. Put a sturdy upturned saucer in the bottom of the pan to keep the sponge away from direct heat.

Ingredients

• 2tbsp jam plus a little extra
• 125g butter
• 125g caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• vanilla extract
• 175g self-raising flour
• milk

Directions

1) Generously butter a 900ml pudding basin and spoon the jam into the bottom.
2) Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3) Break the eggs into a separate bowl and add them to the mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
4) Add a few drops of vanilla extract, then fold in the flour, followed by enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency.
5) Spoon the cake mixture on top of the jam and level out.
6) Lay a large piece of foil on your worksurface and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper. Butter the greaseproof paper, then fold it and foil to make a pleat in the centre. Place this on top of the pudding, buttered side down, and secure with string.
7) Steam the pudding for 11/4 to 11/2 hours. The sponge is ready when it is well risen and springy in the centre.
8) Turn out onto a serving plate and let the jam dribble down the sides of the pudding. Add a little more warmed jam if you like. Serve with custard or single cream.
9) To turn this into a chocolate pudding, replace about a quarter of the flour with cocoa powder.

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