Monday, 19 October 2015


From time to time, I make a well loved dessert called pudding.

Pudding never starts out intending to be pudding; it always results from a baking failure crossed with a rescue mission of some description. Pudding is never much to look at but it always tastes good. Its ingredients are usually obscure and come together in surprise flavour combinations. Basically, pudding is my code word for "a spectacular baking fail that was rescued by {insert decadent ingredient/s here} and served up as a planned dessert".

Last week, I eagerly set about baking my aunt's famous sponge cake using the swan eggs I'd been given. The recipe looked simple enough. I had everything I needed and got busy baking. The sponge took much longer than expected to cook, then rose and rose (and rose) very high before collapsing spectacularly. As a final insult, the remnants stuck to the bottom of the tin.

After googling "what to bake with broken sponge pieces -trifle" (because I'd decided that it's still too early in the season for trifle), I moved on to search for a simple chocolate mousse recipe. I broke the collapsed sponge into pieces, arranged them in a dish, poured over layers of decadent mousse and refrigerated it all for a few hours. Voilà - pudding!

Fast forward to the family dinner the failed sponge was destined for.
"What's for dessert?" my seven-year-old nephew asks.
"Pudding," I say.
"What sort of pudding?" he checks.
"Special pudding," I clarify.
"Yum! This pudding is delicious!" my nephew declares. "Can we have special pudding another time?"
"Yes, but it will probably be a different type of pudding next time," I promise knowingly.
Another time, my failproof pavlova did just what it had never done before. Googling "what to make with broken meringue pieces" resulted in Eton mess, to the delight of British family members.

I can think of many more examples where pudding has been a surprise yet welcome addition to the menu. It confirms what I've always believed: there is nothing that whipped cream, ice cream or custard can't rescue.

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