“This is a classic old English pudding made from lovely stewed fruit with a spongy batter baked around it. Absolutely delicious. If you can’t get hold of one of the orchard fruits I’ve suggested, feel free to use peaches or strawberries (not raspberries, though, as they tend to disappear!). Banana is also delicious but the end result will be like a banana cake. In the old days, this would have been made using canned pineapple; try it out but use a nice ripe fresh pineapple instead. Another fruit not to use is kiwi, as it just doesn’t work. Jersey cream is one of life’s little naughty-but-nice luxuries! You can get it from all good supermarkets. Try lacing it with a little whiskey – delicious!"
2½ pounds eating apples, quinces, pears and plums
a large knob of butter, plus a little extra for buttering the dish
1/2 cup of brown sugar
a pinch of ground cinammon
a pinch of ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground ginger
3 fresh bay leaves
1 vanilla bean
a tablspoon icing sugar
a little swig of whiskey (totally optional –ae)
for the batter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup raw sugar
4 large organic or free-range eggs
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and core the apples, quinces, and pears, and cut them into large wedges. Halve and pit the plums (their skins can be left on). Place in a big saucepan with the butter, brown sugar, spices and bay leaves, give it a stir and stew gently for 20 to 30 minutes with the lid on. When the fruit is soft and cooked, remove the pan from the heat, discard the bay leaves and put to one side.
To make the batter, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating them in well, then fold in the four. You can make this in a food processor, too, it’s up to you. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half the cooked fruit (without the juices) into the bottom of a round, 8-inch buttered ovenproof baking dish. Top with the batter, then spoon over the remaining fruit, reserving the juices. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and risen. To check whether its cooked through, stick a skewer or small knife into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, you’re in business.
Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out using the back of your knife. Put them into the bowl with the cream; don’t throw the empty bean away – you can use this to make vanilla sugar later. Lightly whisk the cream and vanilla seeds with the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the whiskey (my note -- or not, if your guest abstain.) Serve straightaway with big dollops of the cream and a drizzle of the fruit juices.”
Excerpt from Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver. Copyright ©2008 Jamie Oliver. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
by Libby Segal