Sometimes there's a serious need for a pudding.
I'm not talking about something chilled and light. No, I mean the kind of rib-sticking sweet bowl of deliciousness that fixes everything from a mild bout of heartbreak to a serious case of January blues.
The coconut and raspberry pudding is an incredibly easy recipe to make, and is a firm favourite of mine. I adore the combination of ingredients - the moist coconutty sponge sits over a layer of sweet, sticky raspberry jam. It's lovely served with ice cream or cream, though it's also fabulous and seriously comforting with custard.
I love a classic bread and butter pudding, also far right, but I often add other bits and pieces into it to switch it up. Spreading some marmalade on the buttered bread gives it really good flavour, and using different breads like brioche, or even croissants, will deliver an extra bit of luxury.
If it is something gooey and sweet that you're after, then the date and stem ginger pudding, right, should do the trick.
It's one of those delicious desserts that's called a self-saucing pudding, where you end up with a layer of toffee sauce sitting snugly under the date and toffee sponge - now, if that doesn't sort you out, nothing will.
If you're making the bread and butter pudding a day in advance, then there's no need to heat up the milk and cream first. Just cover the pudding and place in the fridge overnight before baking it in the bain-marie.
The kumquat, which is the smallest of the citrus fruit family, is absolutely delicious in a bread and butter pudding. Just thinly slice a few and poach them in a syrup made of equal parts water and sugar until the kumquat slices are tender. Scatter them generously between the buttered bread.
You will need:
•4 tablespoons raspberry jam
•250g plain flour
•3 teaspoons baking powder
•350g caster sugar
•100g desiccated coconut
•3 eggs, beaten
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•150g butter, melted
•Ice cream or chilled softly whipped cream, to serve
1 You'll also need a 1-litre pie dish - mine is oval, and is 6cm deep and 23cm long. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
2 Spread the raspberry jam over the base of the pie dish.
3 Sift the flour and the baking powder into a bowl, add the caster sugar and the desiccated coconut, and mix them all together.
4 In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and mix in the milk, the vanilla extract and the melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients in the other bowl, and pour in the egg, milk, vanilla and butter mixture. Mix well to combine.
5 Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the centre has a light spring when it is pressed with your finger. Remove the pudding from the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before serving it with ice cream, or chilled softly whipped cream.
You will need:
• 75g pitted dates, chopped
• 85g butter
• 1 egg
• 250ml milk
• 40g stem ginger from a jar, chopped very finely
• 125g flour
• 1½ teaspoons baking powder
• 125g dark brown sugar
• Pinch of salt
For the syrup, you will need:
• 125g dark brown sugar
• 150ml boiling water
• 50g butter
• 2 tablespoons stem ginger syrup from the jar
To serve, you will need:
• Softly whipped cream or custard
1 You'll also neeed a 1-litre capacity pie dish. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Place the chopped dates in a small saucepan with the butter. Place the saucepan on a medium heat and allow the butter to melt, then take the pot off the heat.
2 Whisk the egg in a bowl, then add the milk, the butter and date mixture, and the finely chopped stem ginger.
3 Put the flour, the baking powder, the dark brown sugar and the pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix well, then make a well in the centre. Pour in the egg, milk, butter, date and ginger mixture, and stir to mix everything together. Pour into the pie dish.
4 Next, make the syrup. Put the dark brown sugar, the boiling water, the butter and the stem ginger syrup into a saucepan. Place the saucepan on a high heat and bring it to the boil, stirring to melt the butter. As soon as it comes to a rolling boil, pour it evenly over the batter in the pie dish and place it in the preheated oven.
5 Bake the pudding for 40-45 minutes until it is just set in the centre.
6 Remove the pudding from the oven, allow it to cool very slightly, then serve it with softly whipped cream or custard.
You will need:
•12 slices of white bread, crusts removed
•50g butter, softened
•3 tablespoons marmalade
•150g caster sugar
•2 tablespoons demerara sugar
•Chilled softly whipped cream, to serve
1You will also need a 1-litre pie dish, or six deep ramekins 10cm in diameter.Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
2 Butter the bread and spread marmalade on each slice. If you are using a pie dish, arrange all the bread in the pie dish, butter-side up - if you like, you can cut the bread into triangles to make it look a bit more interesting on top. If you are using ramekins, place 2 slices of bread in each ramekin, butter-side up.
3 Put the cream and the milk in a saucepan and bring it to just under the boil (see Rachel Recommends, below left). While it's heating up, whisk the eggs and the caster sugar in a separate bowl, then pour in the hot milk and the cream mixture and whisk to combine.
4 Pour this custard over the bread in the pie dish or into each ramekin, whichever you are using, and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
5 Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the pudding or puddings, then place in a bain-marie (see my Top Tip). Cook in the preheated oven for an hour if you are making one large pudding, or for about 35-40 minutes if you are making six small puddings. The top should be golden and the centre should be just set. Serve warm, with chilled softly whipped cream.
A bain-marie protects the bread and butter pudding from overheating in the oven and potentially scrambling the eggs. Use a large ovenproof dish or a roasting tray containing enough boiling water to go about one-third up the outside of the pie dish or ramekins while baking.
Sunday Indo Living
I love baking at this time of the year. Sweet, buttery smells coming out of the oven and wafting through the house create such a feeling of homely cosiness. Unless I'm baking for a specific celebration, I want to know that my cake will last for a few days.
Food & Drink
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about soup. There's no other food that will warm and restore like a big steaming cup or bowl of soup, be it smooth and silky, rustic and chunky, or light and brothy.
Food & Drink
Risotto, one of the most famous rice dishes in the world, is, for me, comfort food at its best. I find the slow, methodical process of gradually adding the stock into the rice soothing in itself. As the rice releases its starch from the almost constant stirring, you get a dish that's naturally creamy and velvety.