Friday, June 5, 2009

Plum and almond sponge pudding

Serves 6

To make individual puddings, heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Grease 6 x 200ml dariole or ramekin moulds and divide the plum and sponge mixture between them. Cover the moulds with small pieces of greased foil, pleated in the middle. Put them in a deep roasting tray and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake for about 25-35 minutes.

300g ripe dark red plums, quartered and stoned
250ml marsala
140g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tblsp
140g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
70g self raising flour
70g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
¼ tsp almond essence
50g toasted flaked almonds
Custard, to serve

Lightly butter a 1.2 litre pudding basin. Put the plums in a saucepan and pour over the marsala. Stir in two tblsp of sugar, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for no more than ten minutes until the plums are tender.

Remove from the heat, drain the plums and reserve the marsala. Purée half of the plums in a food processor until smooth. Pass the purée through a sieve, then combine with the remaining poached plums. Pour the plum mix into the pudding basin.

Put all of the ingredients for the sponge mixture in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin, taking care not to disturb the plum layer, and level the top.

Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper on top of a piece of foil the same size. Grease the paper with butter, make a pleat in the middle and lay it, paper-side down, over the basin. Tie tightly with string and trim away the excess paper. Scrunch the foil up and over the paper to make it watertight.

Steam for 1½ hours, keeping an eye on the water level every 30 minutes or so, topping up the water if needed. To check the pudding is ready, unwrap and insert a skewer into the sponge. The skewer should come out completely clean. Boil the reserved marsala in a small pan until syrupy. Turn out the pudding and pour over the reduced marsala. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds and serve with lots of custard