Little puddings made in cups or ramekins are very popular and very trendy. Adding fruit to simple egg-free (and diary-free) cake mixtures brings the puddings bang up to date. Jams and syrups add extra sweetness and stickiness; sugar dusting is in vogue; edible flowers are fabulous to finish off the contemporary look – little flurries of creativity and inspiration that make even very basic puddings look and taste like the best thing on social media. The basic steps are simple, the changes in flavour can give a totally new taste, and the choice of toppings takes your little puddings up a level. Serve them hot with heated sauces and ice cream or eat them at room temperature dressed up with fun toppings. Here goes:
Basic Vegetarian Egg-Free Batter
Before starting, make sure your oven has reached 180oC and that your ramekins are well-greased. Use 2 cups of self-raising flour to 1 cup of boiling water (will make 6 to 8 puddings, depending on the size of your ramekins.) To your boiling water, add 1/2 cup of unsalted butter; 1 cup of sugar; ½ cup of jam of choice; 1 tsp vanilla extract. Once the butter and sugar have melted, add 1 tsp of bicarb to the hot water and mix in. Add wet ingredients to dry (the flour plus spices, nuts, fruit etc, if you are using them) and stir thoroughly to get a nice thick batter. Pour into greased ramekins or cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Basic Vegan Batter
As above, except replace the butter with 1/2 cup of cold pressed coconut oil, and bake for 30 mins.
Batter Options. The jam you use will determine the flavour and colour of your little puddings. Black cherry is a top performer, but pricey. Also high on the more luxurious jams list are black current, ripe fig and strawberry, but apricot and peach are just as yummy.
Spices, added to the dry ingredients will give your little puddings a unique flavor. Use ginger powder, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom or carefully balanced combinations of them.
Add texture to the puddings with nibbed nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts are your best choices) and soaked dried fruits such as chopped up apricots, figs, apples, raisins and ginger.
Let’s look at some combinations that really work.
Chocolate & Banana Pudding with Banana Puree & Cream
Mash a ripe banana to a pulp and then place in a cup, filling with boiling water to make up the full cup. Place in a bowl and add oil or butter, sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. To your dry ingredients add 1/4 cup of raw cocao, and mix thoroughly with wet ingredients, then pour the mixture three quarters of the way up the ramekin or cup. Place in the oven, and keep an eye on them but do not be tempted to open the oven before 25 minutes or you may risk collapse. While the puddings are baking, place a couple of ripe bananas in your blender or smoothie maker. Add a tip of a tsp of cinnamon and a little honey or syrup. Blend until smooth. Place fresh cream in a container and whip until firm. When the little puddings are done, turn them out onto a plate, pour pureed banana over them and add a good dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with two slices of freshly cut banana and a nasturtium flower. Serve immediately!
Strawberry Trifle Pudding Deluxe
Make your basic batter using strawberry jam and follow the same method. While the puddings are baking, clean and hull 400 grams fresh strawberries. Reserve half in a bowl, sprinkle a little castor sugar on them, and pop into the fridge covered in cling wrap. Dissolve 2 Tablespoons of sugar into ½ cup of boiling water, then bring to the boil. When bubbling, add the other half of the strawberries and turn the heat off immediately. Put the lid on the saucepan and leave to poach in the syrup.
Place 1 cup of condensed milk in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, stir to thicken. Add a few drops of pink food colouring. Add a cup of cream and beat until thick. Place in the fridge until needed.
To assemble your little puddings, turn each of them onto a plate. Spoon poached strawberries and some of the light syrup over the puddings. Using an ice-cream scoop, place a scoop of the pink cream on top and finish off with the fresh strawberries. Garnish with mint leaves.
More fabulous little jammy pudding options next month!