Friday, October 26, 2007
The Anglophile in me is truly drawn to the simplicity and robustness of British dishes. No room for light mousses nor decadent ganaches, Brit desserts are stick-to-your-ribs, no nonsense creations, yet elegant in their own right. They'd be like the elephants of the dessert kingdom, staunch and reliable, well-built and heavy, and regal and graceful all at the same time. Very rarely do you find a recipe that calls for more than a handful of ingredients or for some esoteric method of preparation.
Eve's Pudding is aptly named after Eve and the apple from the tree of knowledge, mostly for its desirable qualities. Sweet apples are topped with a traditional Victorian sponge cake. Since the sponge acts as a crust, the apples cook by steam, yielding a brilliantly tender layer of stewed fruit, then a creamy light vanilla cake.
We associate puddings with sticky, wobbly, and creamy things, but when the Brits speak of pudding, they're referring to a large array of desserts, mostly cakey things that are steamed or baked. Dense and buttery, these puddings vary with the seasons, capitalizing on the freshest and best fruits of each, whether it be berries for a summer pudding or charlotte, prunes in a sticky toffee pudding, or candied fruits and peels in a Christmas pudding.
This recipe is easy and delicious, and must be eaten all in one sitting. That's an order. (Its texture is wet and creamy, thus keeping it longer for more than two days is probably a bad idea.) It can be done, really.
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 apples, peeled and cored
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Slice apples into thin 1/8" slices. Gently toss with 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a mixer until it becomes smooth and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time. Alternately add in the milk and flour mixture. Do not over beat.
3. Spoon reserved apples into single-serving ramekins or souffle pans (48 oz), about 3/4 of the way full. Pour any remaining juices over the apples.
4. Spoon batter over the apples and with a flat spatula, level out the batter to form a flat seal to cover the fruit. Sprinkle the top with sugar.
5. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.