With winter well and truly settled in, we tested four yummy, and super easy, warming puddings to add to the table on a cold night. You can make all the puddings in one large dish, or split into individual ramekins for a special dessert. Serve each with ice-cream (we use Over the Moo because it’s the best!), or thick cream, home-made custard, or top with fruit and meringue for something a bit different. Enjoy! By Aine Dowling.
Magical Mocha Pudding
Who doesn’t love a chocolate pudding, and this one is super easy and cooked in the microwave. This recipe is for grown-ups with spoonful of Tia Maria to serve (fortunately it doesn’t mention the size of the spoon, so knock yourself out!), but for the kids you can substitute chocolate sauce.
What you need: 150ml milk, 50gm pitted prunes, 2 teaspoons good quality instant coffee*, 50gm softened butter, 50gm icing sugar, 1 large egg, 50gm ground almonds, 2 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon self-raising flour**, and Tia Maria liqueur to serve (optional).
What you do: Measure the milk in a large jug and blend in a food processor together with the prunes and coffee until smooth. Add the butter, sugar, egg, almonds, cocoa, flour and a pinch of salt, then blitz again to make a thick batter. Scrape evenly and cleanly with a plastic scraper (don’t use metal) into 4 x 175ml ramekins, and cook in the microwave, spaced round the edge of the turntable, on Medium for 6 mins. The puddings will still look a bit moist, but that’s fine. Stand for 5 mins before serving. Top each with a spoon of Tia Maria (for the adults) or chocolate sauce (for the kids) and a scoop of ice-cream. *We grind our own beans and make our own coffee blends, but if we have to have instant we go for Gloria Jeans or Illy—more expensive, but much nicer.
Crunchy Caramel Crumble
I’ve always preferred crumbles to pies—not sure why … and the inclusion of caramel gives this a lovely smooth taste. The recipe calls for eating apples but I’ve used green cooking apples which are not as sweet, and make a nice contrast with the caramel. You can also substitute with other tart fruit such as rhubarb.
What you need: 8 apples—peeled, cored and cubed, 6 tablespoons Carnation (Nestle) caramel cream*, 50gm plain flour, 50gm oats, 50gm cold butter.
What you do: Heat oven to 200C. Put the apples into a saucepan with a splash of water, cover and cook over a high heat for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally until just soft. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the caramel, then spoon into individual ramekins. Dot small spoonsful of caramel cream over the apples until only 1 tablespoon is left. Mix the flour and oats together, and rub in the butter with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the remaining caramel and spread over the apples. Bake for 18-20 mins until golden and crispy on top. *You can buy Nestle Caramel top ‘n’ fill from any large supermarket.
Clafoutis (clafuti) is one of my all-time fave desserts—much be the French in me … This recipe is super easy and although the traditional Clafoutis is made with plums, you can change it to include your favourite fruit.
What you need: 1 cup whole milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup plain flour
What you do: Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a baking dish, and add your favourite fruit or flavouring—cherries, cubed apple or pear, sliced plums, etc. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the Clafoutis is puffed and golden. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!
Basic Bread and Butter Pudding
An oldie but a goodie—not much more to say really … But again, a super easy recipe and one that allows a few variations to suit you and your family’s taste.
What you need: 8 slices bread crusts removed, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons caster sugar, 300ml cream, 1/4 cup fruit jam or conserve to taste, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.
What you do: Preheat oven to 180C. Spread the bread with jam or conserve and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cut the bread into triangles and arrange in a greased oven-proof dish or four individual ramekins. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and cream. Pour over the bread and bake for 25 minutes.
Variation: Instead of jam, spread the bread with a good quality butter, and sprinkle with dried fruit—sultanas, chopped apples, apricots, dates, or figs. Or you can use fruit bread or buns.
**We use gluten-free (GF) flour in all our recipes.