Let’s be completely honest, The Railway Modeller and I both like cake; we probably like cake more than we should really. I thought the next celebration cake was due for an April birthday, then I discovered that Simnel Cakes were traditionally baked for Laetare Sunday (probably better known as Mother’s Day in the UK); obviously I decided to bake one. I found a recipe in one of my books and a bit of research suggested two weeks would be adequate maturing time, so this week I’ve made a cake. I’ll write more about it when we’ve actually tried it. In the absence of more to say about cake I’m writing about a pudding instead!
Steamed pear and chocolate sponge
Earlier this week I was given a bag of very ripe, slightly bruised pears. This classes as a treat because pears usually seem to be sold under-ripe and even the smell of good ripe ones is cheering. Obviously the bruising meant there would be some wastage so I needed to use them in something I would be chopping them for; my usual dish for pears like this would be a crumble but I thought my hands would probably object to tickling the crumble topping into being at the moment so decided to come up with a sponge pudding instead. This was a good decision to make, my crumble is probably healthier but this was pure comfort food. It’s a slightly imprecise recipe in places and while my scales mean I weigh ingredients in ounces the chocolate content is given in grams because I used half of a 100g bar, it made sense when I was throwing things together in the kitchen.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
A large knob of butter
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
50g dark chocolate (I used a 70% cocoa content one)
3 or 4 pears (I used the unbruised bits of six very ripe ones)
3oz self-raising flour
1oz cocoa powder
4oz butter, margarine or spread suitable for baking (I use sunflower spread)
About 2 tablespoons milk or single cream (I used 1 tablespoon goats’ double cream and 1 tablespoon water)
Grease a 1¾ or 2 pint pudding bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the knob of butter over a low heat. Break the chocolate into chunks and add the chocolate and golden syrup to the pan with the butter. Stir continually until everything is melted and evenly mixed. Pour this chocolate sauce into the pudding bowl.
Peel and chop the pears into roughly 1cm cubes, discarding the cores, and drop into the pudding bowl on top of the sauce.
Mix the remaining ingredients, except the cream or milk, in a food processor.
Add the milk or cream a little at a time until the mix looks smooth and spongy but not runny. Spoon the sponge mix on top of the pears in the pudding bowl.
Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and lay a sheet of kitchen foil on top of it, pleat the two together down the centre. Cover the pudding bowl with the greaseproof paper and foil (paper side to the pudding) and secure with string. Trim any excess paper and foil.
Place the pudding bowl in a steamer and steam for around 1¾hours.
Turn pudding out onto a plate and serve hot with cream or custard, alternatively serve cold as an indulgent cake.