There's nothing like a sweet homely pudding to warm the soul and feed the heart. Sweet and sometimes tart, cakey or crumbly, rich yet light, gooey, sticky, creamy or smooth, puddings come in all shapes, textures and flavour combinations, but the classics (possibly with a subtle modern twist) are my favourites.
Let's start with my all-time favourite... lemon delicious. At this time of year, my lemon tree is groaning under the weight of the abundant lemons and there's only so much vinaigrette, fresh lemon and ginger tea, or lemon cake I can muster. So lemon delicious often makes an appearance on my table, especially when we have friends for dinner. It's one of those puddings, like all self-saucing puddings, that has always fascinated me. It goes into the oven as one mixture and magically reappears as two – a light airy sponge sitting over a creamy, tangy sauce. How clever is that?
Sticky toffee is another favourite of mine. I first came across this wonder in the early 90s when I was working as the assistant food editor on Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. This sticky, addictive and soul-warming pudding was the new hot thing that was sweeping the bistro scene in Australia. Everyone was dining on it. Luckily, it managed to survive the craze (no doubt because of its irresistible butterscotch sauce) and became, quite rightly, a modern classic.
Another gorgeous, gooey pudding that I adore is the French classic chocolate fondant. With its oozing centre and rich nature, this is a pudding not for the faint-hearted. Be prepared to go to chocolate heaven and back.
And, finally, an English classic that's the very definition of comfort food – baked rice pudding. Its composition is simple (often only four ingredients), but the resulting spoonfuls of deliciousness is nothing short of sublime – especially when you spike it with a little coconut milk and serve it with vanilla-baked rhubarb, as I have in this recipe of mine.
Puddings are for the heart and soul – they're good-natured, homely, warming and, quite simply, a joy!
Winter pudding recipes
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Trish Heagarty. Food preparation by Wendy Quisumbing.
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