Crunchy Apple Pudding

Crunchy Apple Pudding 3-2

I couldn’t countenance Sunday lunch without a pudding.  I fully admit there have been times when a quickly whisked together chocolate or butterscotch sauce to pour over good ice cream has been all I could muster but puddings they were nonetheless.  I love all manner of rib sticking, warming treats – after all Sunday lunch only comes around once a week and I will easily go days or the whole week without any other sweet, sticky number for afters.  Golden syrup sponge, lemon (or chocolate) surprise pudding, a fruit crumble, pie or galette – anything that will be delicious and only improved by cold cream or warm custard.

Last Sunday though I had rather gone to town with a main course of braised silverside and many, many vegetables.  So, although I had bought bramleys and had apple crumble with cream firmly, and fondly, in mind a bit of rejigging was in order.

Several years ago I was offered a pudding called Danish Peasant Girl in a Veil.  Seriously, that was the name – I am sure because I had to ask at least four times.  Caroline, who made it, assured me that just because I hadn’t heard of it didn’t mean it wasn’t a real dessert…  It was layers of apple puree, crispy breadcrumbs, whipped cream and grated chocolate and extremely good it was too.  It has sat filed in my memory until now.

I decided to combine the spirit of the Danish girl with an old nursery pudding of dark muscavado ‘melted’ on top of Greek yogurt which in turn covers some fruit.  So here we have it.  A lighter take or a (rather early) summer version of apple crumble with cream.  My husband and children loved it although I think I am the biggest fan.  Next time I am going to make more so I can also have it for breakfast.

Crunchy Apple Pudding 3

Crunchy Apple Pudding

I have given measurements but these are flexible, if your apples weigh 1kg then great, you will have a little more puree just adjust the sugar accordingly.  Likewise use more yogurt if you like, these are just guidelines.

750g bramley apples, cored, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

50g breadcrumbs

25g butter

1 heaped tablespoon demerara sugar

Good pinch of salt

1 heaped tablespoon dark muscavado

250g Greek yogurt

Put the apples, sugar and water in a pan and cook slowly until completely broken down.  Taste, you may need a touch more sugar depending on the sharpness of your apples.  Leave to cool.  Meanwhile melt the butter in a frying pan and add the breadcrumbs, sugar and a good pinch of salt.  Mad though it might seem you need the salt to give flavour so the crumbs don’t just taste sweet.  Fry these gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden and crunchy then leave to cool.  Once you have all the components you can assemble your puddings.  Divide the apple between the glasses and top with the yogurt, sprinkle the muscavado between the four glasses and leave it for a few minutes to ‘melt’ then cover with breadcrumbs.  You can do more layers if you like, I am not dextrous enough to do many, neatly and I only want breadcrumbs on the top so they are really crunchy.  This makes enough for 4 glasses but is easily doubled.

Crunchy Apple Pudding 2

Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackcurrants

Vanilla pannacotta 2

I have been so lucky with piles of fabulous, fresh local fruit recently.  Blackcurrants, loganberries, strawberries, gooseberries and red currants.  We have had many of the classics such as gooseberry fool and some new ideas such as blackcurrant shortbread cake.  I made redcurrant jelly for the first time, pretty straightforward apart from my slightly Heath Robinson jelly bag of muslin suspended via a wooden spoon over a deep jug – it worked!  Blackcurrant jam and loganberry jam sit in my larder, a comforting site if ever I saw one.

After making the jam I had a few blackcurrants left over, maybe 100g, and this is what came to mind as a way of using them up.   They have such a huge and tangy flavour that only a little is required and I thought this gentle, creamy vanilla pannacotta the perfect way to show off the blackcurrant sauce.  Sweet and fruity, sharp and vanilla – these two flavours work so well together.

I have to admit to having avoided recipes containing gelatine for years.  I remember my mother once spilling a gelatine mixture on the floor and as she was in a rush, quickly put down some newspaper to soak it up.  The result was sheets of newspaper glued firmly to the flagstones which took some elaborate and extensive chipping away to remove.  To be fair this was powdered gelatine and I still rarely use that.  My preferred type is the clear almost glass like sheets which work a treat.   These little puddings are so easy and quick to prepare and always go down a storm.  I’ve finished the blackcurrants but we had the pannacottas again yesterday this time with chopped strawberries macerated in a little sugar until they were deep crimson and juicy – fabulous.

Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackcurrants

200ml whole milk

100ml single cream

100ml Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

60g caster sugar

2 gelatine leaves

100g blackcurrants

20-40g caster sugar

Put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften.  Heat the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar until it just reaches boiling point.  Remove from the heat and add the squeezed out gelatine, whisk well and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the yogurt and divide between 4 ramekins or small metal moulds.  Put into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.  Meanwhile put the blackcurrants into a pan with a splash of water and 20g sugar.  Heat gently until just falling apart and forming a syrupy sauce.  Carefully taste, you may need more sugar, it depends very much on their sweetness.  When you are happy with the balance leave the sauce to cool.  To serve, dip each ramekin briefly into hot water before turning out onto a plate and serve with the blackcurrants.  Serves 4.

Vanilla pannacotta