Sunday, June 5, 2011

Try it upside down

On being invited to Lauren and Tom's for dinner last night, I once again offered to bring a dessert. It didn't take me long to choose what I would make: I'd been itching to try upside-down pudding (p213) for ages.

It's quite a basic concept - you place fruit (namely pears or pineapple slices - I chose the pineapple) in the bottom of a cake tin, then spoon a cake-style batter on top. When the pudding is cooked, you turn it upside-down and the fruit has baked into the top.

I started by preparing the batter, which is made in the usual 'cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs then add dry ingredients' fashion. It was ready in quite a short time, and I went on to prepare the pineapple topping. The fruit topping needs a caramelised finish, so the first thing you put into the tin is a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar.

I prepared the sugary mixture and spread it evenly over the bottom of a 20cm tin. Then I opened a can of pineapple slices and began arranging them on top of the sugar. The recipe indicates that eight pineapple rings should be used in a 20cm tin, but I ran out of room once I had placed five in a ring around the edges. With a little rearranging, I managed to squish in a sixth pineapple ring, and by chopping a piece out of a seventh, I made a smaller ring to fill the gap in the centre.

With the cake tin well-lined with pineapple rings, I spooned in the batter and got the pudding in the oven. It was baking away when I started to hear a sizzling noise from the kitchen. I went and had a look: the butter in the base of the tin was oozing out the join of the springform tin I'd used. There was nothing much I could do about that except place a piece of tinfoil in the bottom of the oven to catch the drips.

After about half an hour (the recipe says 40 minutes, but my oven often cooks things faster) I took the tin out and upended it onto a cake plate. The pudding came free quite easily, and looked so tasty I wished I could scoff some of it immediately.

Instead, I packed up the pudding and took it around to Lauren and Tom's, along with some ice cream. Once we'd gorged ourselves on Tom's delicious roast pork and crackling, I went and heated up the pudding.

The upside-down pudding not only looked good, it tasted great too. It was moist and fruity from the pineapple, but the best parts were the chewy caramelly bits around the edges. I suspect that there would have been even more of this delicious caramelisation if half the butter hadn't oozed out during the cooking.

I'd recommend you try this one - it's a bit of a winner. I'm even tempted to have another go, this time trying it with pears instead of pineapple pieces. If I do, I'll be using a different cake tin, with no joins for the caramel to escape!

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