Perhaps British cooking is laughed at the world over, but damned if I care. We make the best desserts in the world, and everything else just doesn’t matter. Memories of sloppy horrible school dinners in hand, I will venture forth into the kitchen today and show you how delicious and unique British desserts can really be. Not a hint of chocolate in these recipes – just naturally good in and healthy ingredients grown in the back garden and obtainable from your local farmers market.
Blackberry Suet Pudding: Ingredients
This is a family favourite, as we live next to a few local parks that are all overcome by blackberries in the summer. We can go picking one afternoon and bring a few kilograms in plastic bags, then freeze them to use anytime. You will need:
– 400g blackberries
– 4 tablespoons sugar (more if you blackberries are particularly sharp)
– 450g flour
– 180g suet (or butter if you hate suet, but it isn’t the same)
– Pinch of salt
In a large bowl, mix together the suet, flour and salt, as well as enough water to form a good solid dough. Using 2/3 of the dough (set 1/3 aside), roll out a medium sized circle. Use this to line the sides of an ovenproof pudding basis, about 1 litre size. Throw the fruit and sugar in, then roll out the leftover dough and cover the pudding. Stick a layer of greaseproof paper on top and cover the whole lot in some kitchen foil. To cook, you will boil the pudding. Do this with a large pan (big enough for the bowl to enter completely), and fill with water up to about half way up the bowl (being cafeful not to let water into the actual bowl – so don’t flood it). Boil and simmer to steam the pudding for about 2 hours, but be careful to check the water levels often – you don’t want it to run dry or the bowl may crack or burn.
Serve with milk, or your favourite sauce.
Gooseberries are a wonderfully English fruit, and they’re easy to grow in your own garden or pick from nearby. For this delicious dessert you will need:
– 450g gooseberries, ends cut off
– 150ml elderflower cordial (or home made concentrate)
– 2 egg yolks only
– 1 teaspoon arrowroot
– 150ml milk
– 2 tablespoons sugar (again, may need more)
– 150ml double cream
Boil the gooseberries in a pan with the cordial, simmering until soft and pulpy (about 30m). Cool, then set aside in a dish.
In another pan, heat some milk but careful not to boil it. Beat the yolks, eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl, then pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly. When completely mixed, return the whole mixture to the pan and heat some boil, until the custard thickens. Again, DO NOT BOIL. Pour the result through a strainer and into another bowl, set aside.
Whip the cream, and sit into the gooseberries you set aside earlier. Now fold in the custard too, but you needn’t mix so much as a slightly marbled effect is quite nice.
Serve like that!