British cuisine took a mauling over the last half of the 20th century, unjustly so of course. The combined effects of post-war rationing and paying off the largest war-debt in history left high-end dining fairly low down the list of priorities. Things have changed in recent years of course and no one would doubt that the UK is a hotbed of ideas and fantastic ingredients, and some of the finest dining on the planet. One thing though that no other nation can touch the UK on, is Puddings! Winter and the snow we have been getting recently are perhaps ideal times to consider a decent pudding?
We have in our family an old cookbook. Actually it's a handwritten recipe book dating from 1884, July the 2nd to be precise. The author is shown as one Elsie J Warner, but there is another unfortunately illegible name that has been scratched out below.
There are two different hands shown in the writing, so I would assume the second was Elsie. It's a fantastic item, and today we have cooked a favourite British pudding from it in it's correct original form.
Eve's pudding these days is made with self-raising flour and is basically a sponge base, however it was not originally made that way. Here we have gone back to it's roots of 1824, and followed the heirloom recipe in it's use of breadcrumbs. Bread was a staple dietary item then and it was easily and readily available. Lacking any modern preservatives it would go stale fairly quickly, so using up your leftovers was a good way of eeking out a household budget.
Instead of butter, Suet is used here. The recipe calls for beef suet which was widely available, but we have used Vegetable suet instead.
This is in fact a very simple and easy recipe to cook. There is little more labour required other than to chop the apples and beat the eggs. So, let's make pudding! Next you will find the link for the video tutorial, and the textual recipe below that. When you visit please like and subscribe.
6oz/170gm white breadcrumbs
6oz/170gm chopped or granulated Suet(vegetable or beef to choice)
6oz/170gm chopped apples (Bramleys are ideal)
6oz/170gm Sultanas or Currants
4 eggs beaten
Sugar to taste (I used 3oz/85gm of soft brown)
Grated peel of one lemon
Chop your apples into small chunks, and use some lemon juice from your lemon to keep them from browning.
Beat the 4 eggs in a bowl.
Combine the Breadcrumbs, Suet, eggs, sugar and lemon peel in a large enough bowl and mix together thoroughly.
Coat a baking bowl inside with butter rubbed over the surface, and pour in the apples and sultanas and mix gently to form a layer over the bottom.
Pour in your breadcrumb mixture over the top and gently smooth down. You can add a dusting of brown sugar over the top to be extra indulgent.
Place in a pre-warmed oven at Gas mark 4, 175c, 350f. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how deep your pudding is. Test for "doneness" with a metal skewer. Push it in to the pudding and remove. if it comes out clean it's cooked, if it's still a little milky looking it needs a little more.
Serve with Custard! You can of course deviate and use cream or whatever takes your fancy but Custard, Crème Anglais or white sauce as it was called is the real deal here.
This is quite similar in many respects to the modern take on Eve's pudding, but this original version is Eve's pudding that has been to the Gym and is looking buff! With a 6-pack! The depth of flavour is amazing! The Sultanas add a richness that the Suet compliments, and the breadcrumb base gives it texture and bite that are missing somewhat in the modern version. The apples and lemon zest give the acidity that contrasts with the richness, and gives balance. Combined with a good vanilla custard it's unbeatable!
Many modern Eve's puddings are a bit disappointing, often just a bit of airy sponge and some overly tart or overly sweet apples. Not this recipe! This is the real thing, designed to do what modern versions fail at, give you a very tasty, hearty finish to a meal.
Those Victorians knew what they were doing!