December 2, 2016

Male judge

OK, first I’m just going to acknowledge that I haven’t blogged since February. I’ve been sort of busy with this and that—kids, building a house, getting another dog, having a play produced, whatever. I needed a really important topic to bring me out of retirement. Something with significant impact upon the world stage. Something that excuses mixing metaphors.

And finally it has happened. I have something to say about a topic so huge, so monumental, that it calls for a clichéd metaphor: self-saucing pudding.

You see, after the election, to help me wade through the pit into which I was sinking, which was filled with those plants that pull you down so you’re eaten by rodents of unusual size, some friends sent me a season of The Great British Baking Show.

Anyone who knows me at all knew exactly where this was going to lead. I mean, like directly through to a full-on obsession with self-saucing pudding. There’s simply no place else where it could have ended up.

I tried a recipe over Thanksgiving for a full pan of chocolate-on-chocolate, which was fine. Then, we got some large ramekins (maybe 12 ounce? Or 16 ounce?) so I could try individual ones. I found a chocolate-peanut butter recipe online, which was also fine.

But I wanted good. Like, really good. Excellent-good.

So, I decided the only solution was to make something with cardamom, which is to the baking world what those traveling pants were to the sisterhood.

Here is what I came up with:

 

Cardamom apple self-saucing pudding

Butter and lightly flour ramekins (maybe 12-16 ounce)

Sauce:

2 apples

1-2 tablespoons butter

maple syrup (at least ½ cup)

Peel and chop apples. Sauté in butter. Add a bit of water and cook a bit more. Puree. Cook for a few more minutes with some maple syrup.

Put sauce in ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours. I used a round mold, which I would recommend if you can get one. This sauce made 10 balls, which is twice what I could use with the batter, so I’ll be able to make another batch.

Mix together dry ingredients:

2 cups pastry flour

½ tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

dash allspice

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Cream together:

2 sticks butter at room temp

1 cup maple sugar. (You totally could use regular sugar, but I live in Vermont.)

Add to butter:
3 eggs. (I live in Vermont, so they are from free range chickens that some kid raises and sells to my local greengrocer.)

½ cup milk. (I live in Vermont, so it’s from Sweet Rowen. Because I can.)

Mix dry ingredients into wet.

Put 2/3 cake batter into bottoms of ramekins (see comment below). Place in round ice molds of apple stuff. Cover with remaining batter. Put ramekins onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F. Takes about ½ hour. After 15-20 minutes, sprinkle a maple sugar/sugar and cinnamon mixture across tops. Take out when top looks fully baked. Cool for a couple of minutes on a cooling rack, then run a knife around the edge before turning out of ramekins. Serve immediately.

My children, incidentally, have also become obsessed with The Great British Baking Show. Also with self-saucing pudding. The mere sight of those ramekins fills them with joy.

“Those look good,” Zachary told me as I filled the ramekins.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I’m just making it up.”

“Mom, haven’t you realized that the recipes you make up are always better than the ones you find on the Internet?” Zachary is my new favorite child.

Or was, until we ate them and he said, “Flavor is good, and that’s a good sauce. But it’s a little soggy on the bottom because you needed to have more batter on the bottom than on the top. Otherwise, it’s a good bake.”

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