So I got to work on Friday morning, logged onto the system and quickly went to check the results of the South African blog awards – success! I had won the Best South African Food Blog category!! I decided by 09h30 in the morning that dinner on Friday night would be something of a celebratory feast… but what to make?
You can see what I came up with (and what I drank!) in the post above, but I still didn’t know what to make for dessert. And then I remembered that it was Sugar High Friday, hosted this month by Debbie of Words to Eat By who had decreed the theme to be caramel. Now I haven’t played around with caramel since making toffee apples as a child but the idea of doing something caramelly seemed decadently appealing. I have also lately had a craving for sweet cooked apples, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to combine the two elements! As a child, Sunday lunch was a Big Event. You were always expected to be home for it (even after we had moved out of home) and there were always at least two courses – three if you were lucky! And to my mind, the best thing my mom used to serve for dessert was an apple caramel pudding – so that’s exactly what I went looking for on the web yesterday – and here’s what I came up with:
APPLE CARAMEL SELF-SAUCING PUDDING (inspired by this recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly site)
Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)
FOR THE PUDDING:
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
20g butter, melted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
FOR THE SAUCE
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups (500ml) boiling water
60g butter, chopped.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 2 litre shallow oven-proof dish.
Combine the flour, sugar, butter, milk and chopped apple in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the mixture into the prepared dish.
For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted.
Pour the caramel sauce slowly over the back of a spoon over batter in dish. Bake in a moedate oven for about 40 minutes or until firm in the centre.
Serve immediately with cream or ice cream. Do not let the pudding stand before serving as the sauce will be absorbed!
Some notes and observations:
The original recipe uses chopped dates, not apples. I used Granny Smith apples and their slight tartness was perfect for my palate. The recipe makes A LOT of sauce – don’t be surprised!! In fact, I was wondering about the wisdom of the apple chunks, fearing that they would all sink to the bottom of the batter – but I needn’t have worried. Once I poured the syrup over the batter, some of the apple chunks actually freed themselves from the batter and floated to the surface to my horror! But in the end this was a good thing, so just don’t panic… I also halved the quantities to make this just for me and Nick and it worked out just perfectly. And don’t be alarmed if, after 40 minutes, there is a 1 inch thick crust of firm batter floating on an inch of caramel sauce – this is how it’s meant to look, like a giant floating island.
So… how did it taste? Like HEAVEN IN A BOWL!!! Crispy edges to the batter, still slightly crunchy nuggets of apple and a ton of rich, buttery caramelly sauce for the ice cream to melt in. Like my mom’s, only better. Sometimes I can’t comprehend why I never used to make puddings – they are sooooo easy and the results are just great. Mmmmm. Now I want to experiment with other fruits. Apricot caramel pudding? Pecan caramel pudding?? Choc chip caramel pudding?? Just think of the possibilities…