British Pudding Day

November 9th is British Pudding Day, which gives you the perfect excuse (if any excuse is needed) to indulge in arguably the best course of any meal. I would say that the most famous Derbyshire pudding, and definitely one of my favourites, is Bakewell Pudding but I wanted to try something new. So I looked in the book ‘Recipes from the Peak District’ by Peter Grayson and chose a dish from Hope -Treacle Custard.

As usual the recipe was brief – the first ingredient was 8oz of shortcrust pastry with no indication of how to make it. Unlike the original readers of these recipes, I needed to refresh my memory on the quantities of ingredients needed to make the pastry. I used 6oz plain flour, a pinch of salt and 3oz of butter.

Once the ingredients were rubbed in, a couple of tablespoons of cold water were enough to bind it all together, and after 30 minutes in the fridge to rest it was ready to roll out.

Sprinkling some flour onto my board and rolling pin to stop the pastry from sticking, I rolled it out until it was nice and thin. The recipe didn’t specify what size plate or sandwich tin to use so I chose one 8 inches across which would use up all of the pastry.

Once the pastry was in the tin, I placed some greaseproof paper and baking beans inside. I then left it to bake for half an hour in a preheated oven at 200C.

While the pastry case was baking I cracked two eggs into a bowl and added 3 tablespoons of golden syrup. Unfortunately I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and though the recipe says to warm the syrup and add it to the beaten eggs, I just popped the syrup straight into the eggs and beat the two things together. I could only hope it wouldn’t make too much difference to the finished pudding.

Once the pastry case was baked, I took it out of the oven, removed the baking beans and greaseproof paper and poured in the egg and syrup mixture. It was now that I wondered if I’d used too big a baking tin, as the mixture barely covered the pastry base. Nonetheless I popped it back into the oven, which was now turned down to 150C.

The recipe said to bake for 20 minutes but when I took it out of the oven, the egg and syrup mixture was nowhere near cooked. So I’m afraid I disregarded the recipe, turned the oven back up to 200C and carried on baking. After another 15 minutes I checked the pudding and was amazed (and slightly disconcerted) to see what looked like a balloon of syrup rising above the pastry case.

As soon as I removed the pudding from the oven the filling collapsed back into the pastry case, so the recipe was correct when it said “mixture may rise, but not to worry – it ends up all right, when taken out of the oven”.

To be honest, the more the mixture sank, the less impressive the pudding looked. The filling was, for my taste, far too thin and there was way too much pastry. The filling did have a nice, sweet flavour, though I much preferred it warm to eating it cold. I think I’d like it better with lashings of custard and if I try it again I’d definitely make less pastry and use a much smaller tin. Though to be perfectly honest – give me a traditional treacle tart over this recipe any day and it definitely won’t be replacing Bakewell Pudding in my affections.

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