Sunday, April 23, 2006

What's For Pud?

Sun 23 April 2006 - St George's Day

Choosing an English dessert for this exercise was a lot more complicated than I thought ... I wanted to do something a bit different but my initial research into English puddings really scared me off (all sorts of jiggling boiled custard numbers ...) and eventually I decided on a treacle and marmalade tart ... predictable, yes, but hopefully tasty ...

However, this morning I read Andrew Barrow's post on slashfood about the top place for tea and ended up stumbling on a recipe for Cumberland Rum Nicky. Andy, being the resident Cumbria expert (although technically from Westmorland rather than Cumberland), had never heard of this dish, and since it looked simple to make, I thought it was the way forward (especially when I discovered some glace ginger in the cupboard ...).

Proceed as follows:

Make some pastry ... my failure proof method is as follows ... 150 g plain flour, 75 g cold unsalted butter, 2 tbsp of caster sugar and 1 egg yolk and a pinch of salt ... whizzy it up and add cold water a spoonful at a time until it all comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge until you're ready to use.

The tart's filling consists of 1 ounce of glace ginger and 2 ounces of chopped dates. Line your tart dish with the pastry and top with the ginger & date mix. Then combine 1 tbsp of rum with 1/2 ounce of caster sugar and 1 ounce of butter. Spread this mix over the top. Decorate with remaining pastry and bake at 180C for about half an hour.

Nothing simpler? As usual, I've deviated from the recipe and (also as usual) I didn't read the recipe quite closely enough as it is only enough for 2! By the time I'd made the pastry and lined my tart dish (which is the 20cm type) I'd also assembled my fruit mix and my topping ... so I ended up making ... um ... half a tart ...

After a taste test (and much lip smacking) - the verdict is that this is an extremely GOOD PUD. The rum/butter/sugar mixture is gorgeously rich and alcoholic and the date and ginger mixture is really spicy ... mmm ... We don't think you need the pastry decoration on top and the next plan will be to macerate the fruit in the rum, spread a butter and sugar mixture over the base of the tart and dust with icing sugar 10 minutes before taking out of the oven ...

Oh ... and if you're wondering how RUM makes an appearance in an English pudding ... apparently some of the ports on the Cumbrian coast were heavily involved in the import of rum, sugar and molasses in the 18th century. Apparently, this Caribbean influence explains why things like ginger, pepper and nutmeg are common in traditional Cumbrian cooking ...

Anyway, it's a beautiful day here in Leeds and it's criminal to be in the (now very hot!) flat ... time to find a beer garden and really celebrate St George's Day!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it might be (have been) St George's Day in England, but here in Oz it is Anzac Eve and I am wondering where all the details about the special preparations for the Dawn Service including Anzac biscuits are?

C'mon Alex!

12:21 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Andrew - apples would be a great addition, and a lot of other recipes included things like dried apricots. I think the trick is probably to go with a spicy filling that is not too wet. I'm going to be experimenting too - especially as it is so easy to put together!

Mazza - I am making ANZAC biccies tonight and will blog about them later on!

12:31 pm  
Blogger Sam said...

I've only got vodka in the house, do you think I could make it with that instead ;)

Thanks for taking part in What's for Pud!


3:40 am  
Blogger Alex said...

Sadly I don't think vodka would cut it ... though I'm sure you could come up with a vodka jelly recipe!! :)

10:12 am  

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